Chapter 204: Walking in the Cold Wind

Sinmosa lost her parents while she was still extremely young and ended up being raised by Sasani. For the siblings, acquiring food in the ruins of what used to be Sable Radiance wasn’t easy as one might imagine, especially since Sasani wasn’t that much older than Sinmosa either. Just feeding himself took a great deal of effort, let alone finding food for Sinmosa who still had no ability to hunt for herself.

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Back then, while the siblings were still staying with their clan, the elders in the clan would periodically organize a hunting raid. To Sasani, there was no better benefit to staying in the clan than that. As long as Sasani participated in the raid, the elders in the clan would give him a portion of the spoils and though that still wasn’t much in the end, it was something. Because Sasani’s parents died during such a raid, the elders in the clan would pay special attention to the orphaned Sasani since that was the custom then.

However, Sasani was a rather headstrong hellhound and didn’t like being showed favoritism. Thus, he was often the most hardworking hellhound in the raid, all that to feed his little sister. In order to gain more contribution for himself, so as to gain more rewards at the end, he would treat each and every raid seriously unlike the other hellhounds of his age who were only there to make up numbers. It was precisely this go-getter attitude that earned him the praise of his elders, and the scorn of his peers.

To be honest, such a thing wasn’t all that surprising. It was just like school back on Earth where there was always that one kid who didn’t play with others,always scored well in tests and more importantly, had the favor of the teachers. Given such qualities, there was no way the underperformers would ever like that kid.

Sasani was essentially ‘that kid’ in this story.

During the times where there wasn’t any raid, Sasani would go out hunting alone. He was only a Three-stars then, which honestly would have made him an expert within the Prison of the Dead. However, this was Sable Radiance, and in Sable Radiance, a Three-stars was nothing.

Prior to becoming a Cerberus, Sasani wasn’t able to hunt for Demon Fire Worms in the lava lake. Because of that, he could only hunt on land for food. Naturally, game was scarce on land, with the Demon Fire Worms rarely coming up to shore, the Dark Flame Snails even less so.

Still, it wasn’t like there was no way to lure those two creatures onto land. By using Red Lotuses or Flamegrasses as bait, there was a chance of luring them to shore. However, expecting a Three-star to forage for Red Lotuses and Flamegrasses…well, let’s just say he would be lucky if he didn’t die on the road.

Those days of raising Sinmosa by himself were truly tough for Sasani but he still persevered. Like that, ten years passed by in an instant. Throughout all that, his sister always held the number one spot in his heart and that showed in the selfless sacrifices he made for her. It was under such circumstances that Sinmosa fell for him and then eventually got together with him.

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Procreation between those who were blood related was known to have a serious impact on the offspring produced. For example, there were increased chances of deformities, intellectual impairments and recessive genetic disorders.

Those were unavoidable dangers that grew the closer a blood relation was. As a result, children born through inbreeding had a much higher mortality rate, several times more in fact, when compared to those born between parents who weren’t related

(TL: Please be advised, certain terms will avoided in order not to offend the sensitivities of certain vocal groups. Apparently, ‘Beastial’ is offensive, lul.)

Naturally, all that was said with only humans in mind, they tended to be frail after all. Even so, that didn’t mean that devils were completely immune to the effects of recessive genetic disorders either. Although their bodies were built a lot sturdier and thus had a lower probability of being affected by recessive genetic disorders, the probability wasn’t completely zero.

(TL: To clarify his poorly worded content, a human’s constitution has nothing to do with recessive genetic disorders being passed on but they do suffer more from the effects of certain genetic traits when compared to the devils. Devils, being sturdier, do not suffer as much from said genetic traits even if they are revealed. Plus, devils would most likely possess more desirable traits to pass on than a human.

For example, humans with Sickle Cell Anemia would suffer intermittent pain episodes because of the lack of blood. In a devil however, he might have a higher pain tolerance or some kind increased bodily function that nullifies this problem.)

Take for example an arbitrary devil from Purgatory known as Devil A. Suppose Devil A liked hot climates and suffered from abnormalities in cold climates. Should he spend an extended amount of time in such frosty climates, Devil A might just end up developing some kind of disorder. Suppose that disorder was inheritable, while it might not necessarily pass onto the next generation, could one guarantee that it wouldn’t pass onto the next?

(TL: The following paragraph is added text because the author is really bad at explaining concepts…)

{Assuming that the disorder was the result of a recessive gene, meaning that two copies of said gene had to be present in order for the disorder or trait to be present, there existed a chance of the gene being passed down or triggering even during a normal childbirth. Inbreeding would cause homozygosity, which meant that a cell contained identical alleles of a particular gene, which then increased the chances of said disorder triggering.}

(TL: Technically, that addition still doesn’t link up to his point about devils being stronger but the author’s example was kind of lousy to begin with…I’m just linking his lousy example to inbreeding…)

Thus, even amongst the devils, inbreeding was viewed as taboo.

Just based on that point alone, one could imagine how much resistance the pair must have met when they first announced their coupling, especially for Sasani who wasn’t even that well liked by his peers to begin with.

However, I had to admit that this child of theirs seemed like a healthy one. There were no intellectual impairments or deformities to be seen anywhere; it was probably a perfectly hale and hearty baby.

It was precisely because of that reason that Sinmosa and Sasani treasured their child even more.

Now, that she was done explaining their circumstances, Sinmosa proceeded onto a more detailed introduction of this land, the remnants of Sable Radiance.

As mentioned before, the north belonged to the Purgatory Warhorses; that area was off-limits for now. The east belonged to the hellhounds and even further east was the territory of the Purgatory Shadowcats.

The Purgatory Shadowcats were solitary creatures that could be identified by their mostly black fur, riddled with crimson streaks. Compared to the hellhounds, they had a smaller frame but were more agile, and they specialized in shadow magic instead of fire.

For the most part, the relation between the two of them was lukewarm at best, neither too bad nor too good. There were barely any interactions between the two races except for a scuffle that happened several decades ago. In the end, neither side managed to make any significant gains so they ended up signing a truce in which both sides were forbidden from entering the other’s territory freely.

The Purgatory Shadowcats were a race famous for their wealth of strange knowledge. The elderly amongst them were renowned scholars despite being basically a bunch of shut-ins who rarely left their homes other than to forage for food. All that was only made possible by a unique ability of theirs:

The ability to traverse the realm of dreams.

Their Dreamwalking ability took effect only after they went to sleep. Their souls would enter a mysterious state of consciousness that was difficult to describe with words. Simply put, the Purgatory Shadowcats were able to penetrate dimensional barriers in their soul state. While they might not be able to affect reality in such a state, this Dreamwalking ability of theirs allowed them to gather a ton of useful and useless information.

The Purgatory Shadowcats were originally creatures of Abaddon and were known simply as Shadowcats back then. Unlike their Purgatory cousins, Shadowcats in Abaddon were purely black and didn’t possess crimson streaks in their fur. The streaks came about a long time ago when the first batch of Shadowcats entered Purgatory. Upon acclimatizing themselves to the climate of Purgatory, their bodies began to change into the what we knew today as Purgatory Shadowcats. The streaks were essentially formed to absorb energy from the heat.

In actuality, there was not much difference between the two races except that the Purgatory variant was more resistant to heat and weaker to cold.

As for news about entering Abaddon, Sinmosa and Sasani weren’t able to provide much details on that matter. Thus, they gave me a suggestion instead: go ask the Purgatory Shadowcats.

Of all the races here, they possessed the greatest wealth of knowledge thanks to their Dreamwalking. However, their personalities were a little on the eccentric side so requesting aid from them wasn’t going to be easy.

Still, in order to find the Purgatory Shadowcats, we first had to pass through the territory of the hellhounds. With regards to that prospect, the looks on a certain Cerberus couple’s faces immediately turned unnatural. Judging by that look, they didn’t seem to have much fond memories of their clan. As for the reason for that…naturally it was because of their controversial choice.

“If you don’t want to go back, we can always circle around that area instead.”

To me, Sinmosa and Sasani were both experts, being at Five-stars and all. With them as my bodyguards, I felt a lot safer travelling through Purgatory. While Five-stars wasn’t really that powerful in the grand scheme of things, it was sufficient for most situations. After all, those above Five-stars rarely travelled alone so even if we met such a grouping, we would have to run away anyway.

“There’s no need for that, we’re just passing through. All we have to do is let them know that the child is fine.” Sinmosa threw me another grateful look before continuing: “Truth be told, the odds of a disorder occurring in inbred hellhound children is a lot higher than the other races. Thankfully, after a round of checkups, I found that our child was born perfectly healthy…no doubt that was thanks to your efforts…as long as we let them know the child is fine…”

As she said that, she abruptly stopped. Seeing her eyes quiver, I could tell she held a strong attachment to the clan. It was after all, the place she grew up in; it would’ve been weirder if she wasn’t so attached to it.

Another problem worth mentioning was the child’s socialization. Being away from the clan meant that it wouldn’t have any peers for the most of its childhood.

Also, even though their child was born healthy, Sinmosa and Sasani still couldn’t return to the clan because their existence was a rather unique one in the clan.

To be exact, their punishment had to remain lest someone tried to mimic their actions upon seeing their punishment revoked so easily. For the clan as a whole, what Sinmosa and Sasani did was a major infraction of the clan’s rules so punishment was an absolute necessity.

Like what Sinmosa mentioned, the hellhounds were more prone to disorders appearing during inbreeding. In light of that, what they did was even more egregious and an example had to be made of them.

However, the fact remained that being alienated from the clan would have a negative impact on their child. Without playmates at its age, it would grow up to be insociable. After all, hellhounds were a communal species. While a family might have been enough for other races, a family unit simply wasn’t enough to perform the functions of a clan. Notably, once the little puppy grew up, it would be hard for it to find a significant other…

‘Come to think of it, I still don’t know what its gender was…’

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