Chapter III : The Desert Beyond IV

Chapter III : The Desert Beyond

“ Trust “

There were no children in the streets, no people in the markets, and the small, improvised farm was completely barren. When Thyme walked into the tiny town, he didn’t notice it at first. Or… no, he didn’t want to believe it. But as he walked farther down the dirt paths, as he peered into the white houses, the guard could no longer deny it.

Town #135 was dead.

“ This was once Shoo’s town, “ Errol appeared from behind one of the smaller structures, “ He tried to warn them. He was driven away instead. “

Thyme was speechless for a while.

“ If you knew, why didn’t you just tell us? “ Rina woke up from her short nap. She looked a bit better than before they arrived at the town.

The other historian, the child-like one, was thoughtful for a moment. He looked at the guard who could not look at him eye to eye; he then looked at his fellow historian who had just asked Thyme to let her down from his back.

“ Trust cannot be taught. It cannot be bought, “ Errol finally answered, “ It is learned… and it is earned. “

The pigheaded guard flung his bag onto his back and walked towards one of the alleys.

“ Where are you going? “ the little boy asked with a slightly concerned tone.

“ We’re already here. We might as well look for supplies, “ Thyme reasoned and before Errol could say anything else, he already vanished between two houses, closely followed by Rina.

“ Damn it! “ the guide showed signs of agitation for the first time since their journey began.

He ran back to where he left the other humans and Puppy; the tardigrade could not go any further for the pathways were much smaller compared to other towns.

“ Where’s Hunter?! “ Errol almost screamed at the farmer.

“ He said he was going to look for his friends. Hey, these scratches… they look like porcupig slashes, “ Steel was nervous. He asked a question but he did not seem to want an answer, “ … but we’re in the desert. It can’t be what I think it is, right? “

Errol didn’t answer his question directly, but the grim look on the boy’s face said it all.

“ Stay here. Please! the historian sternly said, “ All of you… you will complete this journey. “

At that, the little one ran back into the town as the farmer looked down at his own hands which shook uncontrollably. Steel heaved himself up onto Puppy’s back. The tardigrade then looked forward and his antennae slowly emerged. There was no mistake; even the massive creature knew that there was an enemy close by. The farmer clutched his chest, unable to contain a feeling that he had almost forgotten: fear.

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