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Chapter 11: Into the Desert Lands

The successful plot of Flay led to the angry Pteranodon going after the Midnight Panther, which it saw devour the slime. With an angry Pteranodon chasing the Panther, the entire forest boomed with loud sounds.

Flay continued to run through the thick forest, which was now in a state of panic. The booming thunders from the distance and the mighty roar of the Pteranodon could be heard.

“Sorry about that. I made you sacrifice quite a bit of your slime. It would take a while for you to recover it, right?” Flay asked.

“Yes, Master. I would need to absorb two gators and take all of its energy.”

“That much, huh? Sorry. I sort of expected that. But, if the entire concoction that the Pteranodon was brewing was so thick and had several creatures, I knew that a single drop of you would be worth an astronomical value.”

“Your life and survival are more important, Master. Besides, the real value is my Monster Core. Anything else can be replaced. But with the lack of slime, I can only form a shorter version of the sword. Also, with my size, you can only create a single sticky foothold.”

“It’s alright. I hope we won’t need it for the time being. But man, I wish I could do more of those Stamina Pills.”

“The Stamina Pills could be created without my help. It will lose over half of its efficacy. But if you get more of the branches of the Ever Itch plant, we can find some water or pond, and I can absorb more of it if I can get out safely.” Kairo suggested.

“Let’s just do that!” Flay agreed and began to search for some branches to grab as he was running. Soon, he had a pile of wooden branches held on his back with Flay's sword holster.

An hour passed, and Flay had finally crossed over the edge of the treacherous forest. The Stamina pills that Kairo created were all depleted and what followed was parched land.

“Master. It’s a desert land!” Kairo sighed. If they tried to cross the forest, the pills would be of little help. The cold and heat would be a problem. The night was reaching its end, and the dawn would soon create a terrifying heat in this arid land.

“No. It’s alright!” Flay, however, had a smiling expression.

“This is the Desert Lands!"

"... You don't say?"

"No, I mean, we’re close! This is a region that the Scouting Tamers have explored! The Desert Lands have several oases located throughout this region! So this is actually a safe zone with very few predators and only scavenger type beasts lurk here!”

“Is it because few herbivores stay here?”

“Exactly! There are some monsters here, but they are generally docile. The Kragg Hippo. It lives in the oasis of this place and feeds on the Shoot Marsh Grass. The fast growth rate and the fact that these hippos only eat and go through hibernation make it a good habitat for them. As long as we don’t disturb them and find a nice spot in the oasis, we should be able to rest in the oasis. But we still have to be careful since there has been a collapse in the ecosystem.” Flay glanced back at the tress.

“But we can’t pass the extreme cold and heat of this desert! Daylight will soon come! And the sand here, it’s…”

“Particularly sensitive, and it reflects heat. I know. This is why the Scouting Tamers haven’t completely explored this place, as it is too taxing on their beasts. We are probably south of it. That’s the only region that the Scouting Tamers haven’t explored yet. Which means that the camp of the Tamers out hunting would be North East of this place.”

“But Master, how do you plan to cross this barren land?”

“Now, I just need to insulate. This Desert will be very, very cold and later on, it will be very, very hot. Let’s look for an oasis for now and take things one step at a time.” Flay began to search for various bushes and was guided by the Slime.

"It's still too dangerous!"

"About that... I seem to have a higher resistance in the cold. Whenever blizzards hit our village during the winter, I could easily endure the cold when others were already wearing their thick coats. With the insulation of these leaves and branches, I should be able to survive the night. And I will keep running to keep my heat up." Flay decided.

Kairo was silent. He was curious as to how much of a resistance Flay had. He also realized that Flay had been in the cold river for a long time and must have spent an even longer time in the underground river yet did not succumb to the cold death.

Soon, Flay looked like a monster made of leaves. Then, with the small and giant leaves taken from various shrubs and the giant trees in the forest, Flay moved out of the forest and traveled into the Desert Lands.

The cold wind of the place was enough to freeze anyone who travels into it to death.

Flay suddenly stopped as he could hear some strange cries from a distance. He turned and noticed that several birds were circling in the dark.

“Desert Vultures.” Flay recognized them.

“These creatures are adapted to the switching temperatures and could hunt in heat and cold. Good thing they are only scavengers. Unless their queen is around.” Flay began to move in the direction of where the birds were.

“Master?”

“Those vultures circle out and wait for their prey to die. If they gather around somewhere, it means a monster is dying… Monsters will try to take shelter in the nearest oasis if they cross this land. They have ways to search for the nearest oasis with whatever ability they have. So we follow the trail of dying monsters and circling scavengers. And in doing so, we also get another interesting freebie!” Flay had a wild idea.

“The monster cores! We can snatch them!”

“Exactly! You can enter in their mouth or something and grab that monster core from the inside, right?”

“Yes. If vultures are watching them, they ought to be too weak to fight back.”

“That’s the plan then! You just have to hurry in your going in and out of the monster. Hopefully, being inside a monster would be just like that gator and mask your presence.”

Flay ran and ran and followed the vultures circling in the distance.

Soon, a long, massive snake was found with several vultures watching from the nearby trees. Flay daringly approached it.

The large snake had many wounds all over it and couldn’t even slither.

Flay did not hesitate and approached it. The vultures gave a curious look at Flay but ignored it as they could only find plant essence.

The snake was too weak to notice Flay's approach.

“The Might Wolves. I recognize those scratches. Spikey had some deep cuts on his shell when we found him. In any case, can you go in and search for its core?”

“Yes. The wound is deep enough.”

“Good!” Flay moved his hand and tried to push it into the wound.

The snake gave a weak hiss as Kairo infiltrated its body.

A few minutes later, Kairo moved back and moved back inside the Taming Hand.

The monster core was in Flay’s hand, but it had some green slime covering it.

“Master, I have managed to isolate the remaining Death mark in my body and kept it in here. I can push out a very small amount of my Slime to wrap the core to use Mars's System.”

“You can do that?”

“The advantages of being a slime. Most monsters can only go in and out of the Taming Hand. But now me. I can partially send my body out and begin absorption.”

“Good thinking! Without the core, this snake will die within minutes. Best leave, or the vultures will come attacking me.” Flay began to run again and followed the direction where the snake was facing, and Kairo was in the process of absorbing the energy.

What Flay didn’t know was that Kairo was using some of the life essences of the monster core to attack the strange markings written around the Taming Jewel in the soul space of Flay.

Flay kept running and running. His pace was slower now due to the cold temperature. But his taming hand began to light up,

“Master, this Python has fire elements in him. We’re in luck!”

“That was a Fire-Tongue Python? I’ve never seen one, but that must have been it!” Flay smiled as the warmth that came from his Taming Hand was enough for him to endure the cold winds.

Soon, they found another creature. It was a Bewilderbison. It had many wounds around its body, and there were footprints that suggest more Bewilderbisons had passed here.

The vultures were not flying but were circling the beast, getting ready to pounce at it. It would die at any given moment.

“Kairo. Is there a way for you to release more of this heat? Maybe we can fool the vultures into thinking we are some beast like that Fire-Tongue Python?”

“Of course, Master!” Kairo answered and began to harness the heat.

The vultures sensed Flay's approach and began to screech at Flay. But Flay did not stop and rushed forward as he screamed, and the vultures flew away.

Just like the snake, this creature had several deep wounds, and even a chunk of its flesh was missing.

“A Might Wolf managed to bite this. I don’t know whether to be happy or scared. Bewilderbisons stay in the Grasslands, and this is one of the beasts that we tame for their easy-to-raise states. The Might Wolves might have been hunting wildly and sent a large pack if this one is here!"

"You mean that the Might Wolves forced the Bewilderbisons out of its territory?"

"Exactly! And that in itself doesn't make sense! These Bewilderbisons are strong to push back a few wolves since Bewilderbisons usually stay in a herd! The Might Wolves are acting desperate! But why?” Flay frowned. But he had no time to ponder and placed his hand in the large wound of the Bewilderbison.

Kairo moved in once more and searched for the monster core.

After acquiring it, Flay was running once more with the two small cores hidden In the palm of his Taming Hand.

“Kairo. Drain the Bewilderbison’s core first. We might need the Pythons core again later.”

“Yes, Master!’ Kairo agreed and began to drain more energy.

Flay watched the direction of the Bewilderbeasts march and saw an oasis in the distance. A herd of creatures was drinking in the pond, and Flay knew it was the Bewilderbisons.

“Great timing. The sun is about to rise. I better hide there for now. I need to rest too!” Flay decided and ran towards the Oasis.

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