Arc 5 Chapter 70: Ripples in the sand

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The three found several tents that had collapsed and were buried in the sand. The only reason they knew that there was a tent under the small sand dune was due to parts of tent sticking out.

They tried excavating the sand from atop the tent to see if anyone was still alive.

“Don’t bother with that they’re most likely already dead from suffocation,” said the commander of the caravan guards.

The rest of the caravan was finishing up packing their items and gear that had been thrown around by the wind when a shout broke the silence that hung over the caravan since the end of the storm.

“Sand ripples!” shouted the caravan guard on lookout duty raising the alarm.

The merchants let out cries of fear and began to run around unsure what to do with the alarming news.

Akira and Varbu who were new to desert life did not understand why everyone was acting so crazy and just stood there watching as everything happened.

“What have we done to be cursed like this?” asked a panicked nearby merchant.

“We are truly doomed not only were we forced to endure a stronger than normal sand storm but now we have to deal with a Sandworm!” mourned another merchant.

“All the panic is over puny Sandworm?” asked Varbu.

“I guess so, it’s a bit odd for them to get so worked up about it,” said Akira.

“You idiots! The Desert Sandworms are one of the most deadly monsters in the desert even if you encounter a young Sandworm it’s still able to swallow you whole in one go,” said Mileena.

Akira and Varbu were shocked by her outburst this was the first time they had seen her get really mad.

“Just how big are they?” asked Akira.

“They’re huge! The biggest adult I’ve ever heard about was over a mile long. We don’t have time to talk about it, we need to find the highest dune to be able to see where it is and prepare for any attacks it may be planning,” said Mileena hurriedly.

Mileena the expert in all things to do with desert life led the other two to a large sand dune that was just created a short time ago due to the sandstorm that had passed.

There were other merchants who had already reached the top of the dune and were looking to the east in horror.

Akira looked to the east and was able to see what looked like a small wave of sand approaching them. Every sand dune in its path were all cut in half or completely destroyed as the sandworm moved with surprising speed.

Akira was filled with a sense of foreboding as he watched the wave of parting sand continue to move in their direction.

“I can’t take this anymore! I’m leaving!” shouted a heavily sweating merchant afraid of the Sandworm that was getting to close for his liking.

“No don’t!” the multiple voices shouted trying to stop him.

But it was too late the merchant was already running down the hill and away from both the merchants and the Sandworm.

Immediately the wave of sand altered its path and sped up to catch the running merchant.

Akira and the others watched in horror as the sand wave quickly gained on the fleeing merchant. The merchant sensing something was wrong looked behind him and began babbling like an idiot from pure terror and tried to run even faster.

It was no use the sand wave chasing after him also sped up and in no time it was able to reach him. But surprisingly nothing happened the wave stopped right behind The merchant who had fallen onto his hands and knees and was panting.

The merchant looked around and saw nothing happen, he waited for over three minutes and still nothing happened.

He stood up letting out a sigh and…

Fwoosh! Bam!

…was eaten whole in one bite by the large sandworm that had shot out from the sand directly beneath him like a fish jumping out of a river to catch a fly above the water.

The sand exploded out everywhere as the large tan colored ringed body shot into the air and then slammed back into the ground quickly disappearing from everyone’s view.

No trace of the merchant was left behind, not even a drop of blood.

The large sandworm continued to move around in a large circle from where it had caught the merchant which included the large sand dune that Akira and the others were standing on.

“No one move!” shouted the commander of the caravan guards.

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“You saw that right Varbu?” asked Akira in shocked amazement it was the first time he had seen something so large.

“I saw it,” said Varbu just as stunned as Akira.

“That’s was nothing but a baby Sandworm,” said Mileena.

“THAT was a baby?” asked Akira shocked.

“It’s length was around 500 hundred feet which is considered to be the length when the baby sandworms are allowed to hunt on their own.”

“How are we supposed to fight something like that?” asked Varbu.

“Normal you don’t or can’t. Mostly because anyone who tries is killed before they can fight back, luckily this one is just a baby. The way to escape the sandworms attention is to not move or create any vibrations in the sand. The sandworms have no eyes or ears like us. The only way they know where something is, is from the vibrations that travel through the ground.”

“So we’re stuck just standing here until it goes away?” asked Akira.

“Not much else we can do since we don’t have any of the gear to divert the sandworms attention. How were we to know that sandworms who normally stay in the deep desert would appear here,” interrupted one of the caravan guards.

Akira was even more grateful now when thinking of the highly detailed map, they might have wandered into a dangerous area in the deep desert without it.

The caravan members were forced to stay standing as they watched the sandworm continue its circling around them.

Two hours passed when the sandworm had slowed down it’s circling and after another hour passed the ripples in the sand stopped.

They continued to wait for several more hours to afraid to move in order to make sure that the sandworm had finally left the surrounding area.

Akira was getting tired of just standing around that he decided to check and see if the sandworm had left already.

Before anyone could understand what he was doing he bent over and picked up a large piece of sandstone and threw it as far away as he could.

The sandstone was enough to create small vibrations when it hit the ground and continued to skip a few times before coming to a complete stop.

Everyone waited in silence looking for any reaction to the silent and still sand.

After waiting over five minutes and nothing happened another rock was thrown this time in a different direction.

Same results no reaction. Everyone looked towards the guards who knew more about the sandworms.

“We should wait just a little longer,” said one of the guards still wary of the sandworms.

The time for dinner had already passed and the daylight was fading and being replaced with the bright moonlight before the guards gave the okay to move.

The merchants took a few small steps testing out if it was safe not wanting to go too far to fast.

Everyone let out a sigh when nothing happened and continued to walk towards the…

Fwoosh! Bam!

…three merchants that had been the first to test if it was safe and thus were the farthest ahead were swallowed whole.

“Damn!” shouted one of the caravan guards.

The ripples in the sand started to move towards the remaining people on the tall sand dune.

Without saying a word Akira grabbed Mileena into a hug and dived away rolling down the sand dune as the large sandworm burst out from beneath the terrified merchants and guards, swallowing another three unlucky people who had been standing next to Akira just moments before.

Varbu had also jumped at the same time and was able to survive the attack as he rolled down the dune near the other two.

“How the c**p are we supposed to defeat that sort of thing?” asked Akira who was standing up and searching for the sandworm.

“Th…Th…The only way I know is near suicide. You need to have the agility to dodge and strength to climb onto it when it burst out of the sand and then somehow attack its heart. The bad thing is it can move its heart throughout its body. So you’re forced to cut it in half to reduce the area it can move its heart. That’s all I know, only the most elite of desert warriors can do this,” stuttered Mileena quickly as her heart fluttered due to the near-death experience…maybe.

“Fine let’s do that. Varbu are you up for breaking through any armor in the way?” asked Akira.

“I’m always ready for an honorable fight to prove my skill. This is my kind of fight!” said Varbu bashing his fist together a few times while getting pumped.

“You need to transform in order to successfully catch it when it jumps out of the ground,” interrupted Mileena before Varbu and Akira could start to run towards the ripples circling the panicked merchants and guards.

“But there are other people around here and it’s too hot…” complained Akira.

“Just do it,” said Varbu interrupting Akira. He knew Akira did not like to advertise that he was a werewolf due to all the trouble it brought.

Akira relented a dark light covered his body and in mere seconds transformed into a werewolf growing taller and bulkier due to his increased muscles. His soft but firm black fur help him blend in with the night.

“Get on my back,” said Akira and a gravelly voice.

Mileena face turned a little red but found some resolve and jumped up onto Akira large back and wrapped her small arms around his neck.

Both Varbu and Akira ran towards the ripples in the ground. They reached the merchants just as the sandworm shot out of the sand and swallowed another two people.

Using his pounce skill Akira leaped through the air and slammed into the side of the sandworm.

As he began falling he tried to stop but was unable get a handhold, so he stabbed his hands into the sandworm’s lightly protected rings and came to a jerking halt as he hung from the side of the sandworm.

The sandworm sensed something was stuck into its side. It rolled so that Akira was now standing on top in order to protect its wounded spot from receiving more damage from the sand below.

Akira looked behind him and saw Varbu had somehow successfully grabbed onto the sandworm and was also trying to hang on while he slowly crawled forward to join Akira and Mileena.

For an unknown reason, the sandworm did not return underground and continued to travel on top of sand causing havoc with the surrounding dunes as it mercilessly slammed through them. Akira checked the name and level of the sandworm [Desert sandworm baby Lvl 30].

Varbu stopped next to Akira and shouted, “The rings seem to be less protected I can try to break through but if the sandworm makes any sudden moves and I’m not holding on I’ll be thrown off and in the worst case run over by the rampaging monster.”

“Don’t worry I’ll hold on to its ring to make sure it stays upright. You just need to destroy the armor so we can separate its large body and attack its heart,” shouted Akira as he tossed a rope to Varbu who fastened it around his waist.

With their plan of action all worked out, Varbu got to work at bashing the light armor covering the ring causing bits and pieces of flesh and worm blood to fly everywhere.

It took over 30 minutes for Varbu to get a large portion of the upper ring to be destroyed.

The sandworm who had been enduring the pain now felt a sense of danger and began to rock back and forth as it moved and curved trying to knock off whatever was that was stuck to its back.

Varbu fell off his feet and almost slipped off the side but the rope around his waist was pulled taut as Akira held on preventing him from falling and allowing Varbu to regain his feet.

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It took over an hour for the armor to be completely destroyed.

“Alright it’s our turn,” shouted Akira letting Varbu know that it was time to switch places.

Akira and Mileena went to town at stabbing and sawing with swords daggers.

After another twenty minutes of tedious work while trying to balance on top all through the sandworm’s pained thrashing.

“Sword slash!” shouted Akira as he used the skill to cut through the unprotected flesh parting it wide open severing all but the last bit of the flesh holding the two sections of the sandworm together.

Akira was hanging off the side near the large wound saw a beating heart that was trying to escape from the rear and move farther up towards the head.

The sandworm sensing its life was in danger tried to turn around and attack the people on its back.

With a hoarse growl, Akira used his skill [Cross Attack] sending the blue X towards the escaping soft heart.

The attack took only a second to reach the heart cutting it into four pieces before it could escape, and just like that after fighting for almost two hours the battle was completed in a split second.

The sandworms erratic movement abruptly ceased causing the three to slam into its body and fall onto to the ground.

Akira could hear messages pop up but had no interest in looking at them right now, he reverted back into his human form. He looked around and was happy to see Varbu and Mileena had both survived the dangerous fight.

Covered in blood, guts, and now sand, they stood up with unsteady legs and staggered back towards the ruins of the campsite.

Upon returning the remaining merchants excitedly gathered around them happily cheering.

“You are truly great dessert warriors.”

“You have earned the right to be called an elite desert warrior!”

Shouted the guards in awe of the skill, power, and endurance that the three had shown.

After the short celebration, it was decided that they would relocate the camp and stop for the night some distance away from the carnage of battle where so many had lost their lives.

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Thanks for the chapter!

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