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190 Ancient Red Carp

    "A purple puffer fish.. I have heard that they taste great." said Daniel to a smiling Alana.

    That was the first time that Daniel had met Alana, and yet, he had already understood what type of person she was. If not for the big red number that floated above her head, just for the reaction that Serf had showed when Alana had moved her hand towards his.

    Daniel was not aware of what Serf's family knew or what they suspected. So, he decided to avoid telling the full truth. For all he knew, there might have been people following him around ever since he had been poisoned.

    Once Alana heard the name of the item Serf and Daniel had gone out to purchase, her face contorted in feigned worry, and said "Oh, please be careful of how you handle that fish.. I know that it is extremely poisonous.." Her fake worry was not only directed to Serf, but to Danel as well.

    "There is no need to worry, we have already hired an experienced cook, there will be no problems." Responded Daniel with a reassuring smile. "I'll take care of your brother for you, don't worry."

    An awkward smile appeared on Alana's face, as she she changed topic by saying "I have visited the hellblazer company, and they have confirmed that you and your company geniuses have already visited them.. But when I've asked to the head of the Tigg family how it went, he simply said that you had already mastered the comprehension of fire essence.. Is that true?"

    Naturally, the muscular old man was fully aware of the fact that Daniel didn't have a perfect comprehension of fire essence. As a master of it, he could feel Daniel's lackings during his demonstration.

    Right after the end of his demonstration, the old man had seen Daniel replicate every concept of fire essence perfectly, despite having been shown to him in a hastened and messy way. What had convinced him that Daniel was not a master of fire, was how identical to his messy demonstration, Daniel's was.

    Then, Daniel started to get better in a matter of minutes.

    According to Alana's words, the muscular old man had reported that Daniel had already comprehended fire essence before coming to visit his company.

    Daniel had no idea why the old man would lie for him, but that lie was, at this point, very much appreciated.

    "It is true.." Said Daniel while showing an expression that suggested that he had been caught red-handed.

    "I don't understand, why give up a perfect treasure and ask for a demonstration of an essence of which you were already a master?" Asked Alana through a dubious frown.

    Daniel's expression went back to a polite smile, and responded by saying "I'm afraid that that is as far as I am willing to reveal about the plans my company has. Pardon me, Miss Navi."

    After hearing Daniel's response, Alana straightened her back, and after smiling politely back, she said "Very well, I'll leave my dear brother to your care, and stop bothering the two of you. Please, do come visit me in the platinum-badged section of the dormitory if you need anything from us."

    She then bowed politely, and left slowly.. Hoping for an invitation to join their meal that, unfortunately for her, never came.

    Once she left, Serf immediately turned to look at Daniel, but just as he was about to say something, Daniel stopped him and said "I know, she is dangerous, and I shouldn't let her touch me."

    "Don't think that our family only possesses one poison.. The existence of each family of the poisonous rose is directed towards finding ways to stealthy killing.. We don't lack varieties of poison." Said Serf after taking a deep breath.

    Daniel bumped his elbows against Serf's stomach in a friendly gesture, then said "Don't worry too much about it.."

    -----

    At the border of the region in which Daniel's company was allowed to work, was an extremely large desert.

    This desert did not have dunes of yellow sand, and instead, was a massive patch of dry land which worked as a general border for the two regions. If one managed to cross the desert, they would find themselves into a different region.

    At about twenty thousand kilometers from the northern border of the desert, was a small group of heavily dressed men. Each of them wore heavy clothes and goggles that stopped the powerful winds to send dust in their eyes, and mouths.

    "Are you sure this is the right place?" Asked one of the men from underneath the many layers of fabric that were wrapped around his head.

    The man in the front, which was barely managing to hold onto a piece of parchment, looked up and towards the man that had just spoken, and said "Look, I'm sick of repeating it.. I don't know.. It's not like there are **ing signs to tell us if we are lost or not.."

    "How do you even know it's really here!? Has he ever been here before?" Asked the first man with a complaining tone. He then turned to look back at the parchment that he was holding in his hands, and looked at what was written on it.

    On this large parchment, was the depiction of the desert's layout.

    "Damn it.. These winds are too strong, I can barely read the map.." Said the man with a deeply annoyed tone. Then, turned towards the cultivator at the far back, and said "How many do we have?"

    The man at the back lifted his arm, and made a 'three' sign with his fingers.

    "Alright, fine.. Use one.. Or we'll never find the damn place." Said the man with the map with a resigned tone.

    As the man with the map finished talking, the quiet member of the group pulled a small talisman out of his spatial ring, and broke it with his fingers.

    The winds in a radius of twenty meters started to be reflected on the surface of a transparent dome that had formed by the talisman. The whistling sound of the wind quietened, and the group members were finally able to hear each other without shouting.

    Once this dome was formed, the man that was holding the map unwrapped the cloth around his face, and took off the goggles from his face.

    If Daniel could see this man, he would instantly recognize him as one of his closest friends.. Heimart.

    After him, the other men removed their protective gear as well, revealing themselves to be Der, as the man which was second guessing whether they were lost or not, Jerigh as the one that had used the talisman, and finally, Roley.

    "Tell me again why we can't fly over these damn winds? I can't see anything unless we are into one of these domes.." Said Heimart with deep irritation.

    Roley, which had stayed quite up until now, said "Because there is no point.. We would end up flying past our destination.. We would be able to see even less than walking though it."

    "Do you have any suggestion?" Said Heimart with a hint of exasperation.

    After hearing Heimart's words, Der muttered "..we'll never find the damn place.. Great."

    Roley approached Heimart, and after looking at the map in his hands, said "I've made the calculations.. We've kept the right speed and the right direction.. The oasis was supposed to be about one kilometer back.."

    "We would have seen a damn oasis if we had passed it.." muttered Der.

    Suddenly, from behind the three parties which were currently discussing animatedly, Jerigh approached and said "The winds pushed us back during our walk.. A few meters per kilometer.. We are further back than we think." His words were calm, and formulated simple and self explanatory sentences.

    Heimart turned to look at Roley, and said with a hint of doubt "Is it possible that you've missed that?"

    "Probably.. I didn't feel that we were being pushed back.. But these winds are much stronger than I thought.." Responded Roley while shrugging his shoulders.

    He was without a doubt the smartest amongst the group, but even he could have make a mistake in his calculations if he didn't have each and every detail at hand.

    "How much do you think we have been pushed back?" Heimart asked directly to Jerigh.

    "About two meter for every kilometer.." Responded Jerigh plainly before covering his face back with the many layer of cloth.

    Seeing that Jerigh was not willing to make conversation, Heimart turned towards Roley, which said "We should reach the place in about half an hour.. If the oasis is still there and we don't deviate our direction, we should be able to arrive there soon."

    Then, as he finished speaking, he, Der and Heimart covered their faces just in time for the dome to disappear, and cause the powerful winds to once again crash against them, bringing sand, dust, and warm winds to press against their bodies.

    The four of them resumed walking in silence, and about thirty minutes later, a few trees as thick as buildings started to appear in the distance.

    These trees looked like palms, but their stems were ten meters thick, and stood up despite the winds like majestic wooden columns at an height of sixty meters. The fronds were enormous and expanded in all directions, forming a beautiful crown.

    The closer they got to these trees, the more they saw at their feet.

    It didn't take long for a large pond to appear in their view.

    This pond could not really be called a pond, as is it was about a three meters of diameter and could be considered a small lake, if not for the lack of an aphotic zone.

    Once the four of them approached the pond, they immediately felt the winds in the surrounding area lessen, and their view clear greatly.

    "This must be the oasis we came to find." Said Heimart while, once again, taking the cloth and goggles off. Der, Roley and Jerigh followed suit right after.

    "So.. what do we do now? The place is pretty big, how do we find it?" Asked Der with dubt. He was currently walking on the shore of the pond, looking towards the clear waters and in the distance.

    Roley shrugged in response, and said "Daniel said that it is going to be here."

    Almost as if answering a call, a large shadow started to dash towards them from a relatively shallow level of water.

    Jerigh's hand moved on the hilt of the sword that was resting sheathed at his belt, while Roley and der started to emit immortal essence.

    The shadow stopped at about ten meters from the shore, and started to emerge.

    In a matter of moments, the large silhouette of a massively large red carp appeared from underwater.

    "How did you arrive here?" said a fruity voice that came from the direction of the halfly emerged red carp.

    "Well.. this is awkward.." muttered Heimart before taking a few steps towards the shore, and saying "We are here to find.. Well.. you. We have been sent here to ask if you were willing to trade a few of your scales."

    Der, which hadn't been told exactly what they were going to do in this oasis, looked at Heimart as if he was looking at an idiot.

    "Why would I want to do that?" Asked the red carp with curiosity. His voice sweet and completely devoid of any harmful intentions.

    In response to the carp's words, Roley took a step forward, and made a fist sized water sphere appear in his hand. This sphere immediately started to emanate thick water essence of an high level, and caused the moisture in the surrounding to move towards it.

    "I am willing to bet that your oasis was bigger only a few months ago.. These winds are fierce.. You would not have to worry about losing your habitat if you had this." Said Heimart after pointing at the high level water sphere in Roley's head.

    Silence reigned supreme for a few seconds, until finally..

    *WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK*

    Roley, Heimart and Jerigh fell on their knees after the powerful sound of a bird's cry reached their ears, while Der barely managed to remain standing thanks to his superior strength.

    "If you want to survive, crawl into the water.."
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