"Ok, hold on, sleek sleek. Stop pulling the str-strings of your bows, please. Stop, pl-please?"
"Who are you? You are on the soil of the Sand Empire, ruled by Suliman the third, Slayer of the Lizard and Protector of the Desert. Now, identify yourself or we will consider you as an enemy of this empire."
They really are not joking. I mean, I didn't expect to enter the kingdom of peace and love but, directly threaten anyone getting close to the wall is a bit extreme. So they are probably xenophobe. Or didn't have a good memory with strangers. From the look of it, it is a nice and good wall. More than 4 meters in height, I don't see the width but I can see at least 3 soldiers in a line. That is really a wall to prevent anyone from entering illegally and criminally in their empire. I wonder how much time did it took them to build it.
Because they don't have any technologies. They are still relying on bows and I see no crossbow or firearm. For range combat, the bow is the lowest of all weapons. It only relies on the strength and accuracy of the user, that means for real war, only the people trained in it can use it efficiently. Not like a crossbow or a gun for example, where even some recruits can fire it accurately enough for war. But in a world full of magic and strange powers, it makes sense to use a weapon based on the strength of the soldier. Now that I think about it, the technology of the human was lacking too. A cart pulled by horses, a well where you have to manually pull the bucket of water. The gunpowder is probably not invented yet, neither the industrial revolution has begun.
But back toward the threatening soldiers. What should I say? Hello, I am a ratman, maybe you have heard of my race, I hope they have a good reputation. Not going to work. They are going to check all my equipment and everything that I carry, so 20 weird crystals with clearly menacing color. And they will notice my condition of ratman.
I am in front of a wall, with no door or gates nearby. So I have no means of getting closer to those archers. And my silence is a little too long. I can see them getting more and more impatient. And I think I am in range of their arrows. I am at like fifty meters. Let's try the peaceful solution.
"I am a lone tra-traveller lost in the desert, sleek sleek. It has been 10 days since I sssaw anything alive, so I wonder if you can point a direction where I can fi-finally reach the East of this desert. Or do-do you have any shop ssselling a map of the desert?"
After saying that, I wait. And I wait a long time. They are clearly not preoccupied with the fact that I could be dying without water or food. No, they are arguing, I can't hear them but some are pointing toward the northern side of the wall while others are pointing their bows. My guess? Some are actually nice and want me to reach a gate where I can really talk. The others, probably want to use the arrows in their bows to transform someone into a porcupine. But the nice guys are a lot more than the bloodthirsty guys.
"It has been many years since a traveler reached the wall of our empire. We don't know the rules of hospitality of the others races so if I offended you I apologize for it. If you keep walking to the North, you will see the Fourth Gate of the West. After that, the commandant in charge of it will check your situation and if he judges you peaceful enough, he will allow you to rest and continue your travel toward the East."
"Th-thank you honorable members of the Sssand Empire. Th-this one will follow your advice, sleek sleek."
After saying this, I can really feel that the one who has talked to me was smiling. He was probably like, you see that person was just lost, he was harmless, we didn't have to kill him, I was right. I resume my march, this time following the walls in the direction of the North. On the ramparts, I can see two or three shining armors following me. Probably to explain the situation. I mean, I am really lucky to meet nice people, if I follow the walls without protection, maybe I will end up in a portion were the bloodthirsty soldiers are in majority. That would be funny. Not it won't.
And yes, I can see them talk to every officer, explaining what happened. Now I just have a little problem. What will I do when I reach the gate? Kill everyone? I don't think I can. I mean, this time I can see the numerous troops of that empire. If I get on the bad sides of them, my life will be miserable. Hunted in a desert where I am lost. But then what should I do? Bet on the fact that all the ratmen are not some total monsters or the boogeyman of this world. Honestly, there is no way that they have a good reputation. I just need one not too huge. If it is too huge, I am screwed.
But now I am trapped. If I try to leave now, I will still be hunted because I am a potential threat. If I don't leave, well my life is in the hand of fate. And that is never a good sign. But where is this Gate? I have walked for hours now. That is highly imperfect to have only a few exit points in a wall so huge. And since he has directed me toward the North, the gate in the South would have been even farther.
Ok, they are trolling me now. First, I can see them keep walking at my side, on the ramparts. Then it is the night. They have not slowed down their advance out of concern for me. They have not enquired if I need to rest or eat or drink. So am I supposed to walk for how many days? Not that I don't have time but, I am bored of walking.
Ok, now I am seeing the gate. Just one day and a half to reach it. How huge is this empire and really how many centuries did it take to build that wall? If they say they made it in less than a decade I say they lied. Now the time of truth and judgment. Will the world condemn me or will he save me? I see an armor made of steel and with some epaulets made in gold coming toward me. That should be the commandant. Only when he was close enough I could discern what was behind the armor. And, unfortunately, it was one of those sandmen or djinn. And of course, he is near twice my size, but we are not close enough for the discussion to be awkward.
"Greetings stranger, I am the commandant of the fourth western gate, member of the Watchers, Saad. From what I learn from one of the sergeants, you are seeking to go toward the East. What is your intention to do so and what are your intentions toward the Sand Empire?"
That's really an officer. So I guess he should have learned that a potential ratman is roaming in the desert. And why I say that is because of the respectful tone of the discussion between me and the group of hunters. Or he mistook me for something more powerful than a ratman. I prefer the first choice. Because that would mean a small lifeform is existing with more powers than my evolution path. And small things don't tell me if they are dangerous as easily as a big dragon would do.
"Th-thank you for your concern commandant, sleek sleek. I ssseek no harm to your country, I just want to re-reach the East of this world. As for why I am afraid I ca-can't tell you that."
Funnily, he doesn't look surprised or angry by my answer. Like he was expecting me to blatantly lie to him in front of his army. But I really just want to go East for no reason except I just want it. Why I want that, well, because, something. I have no idea what is in the North or South, how should I know what's in the East? That's why I am going. But I can't tell him that. That's even worse than lying. Because he will think that I am joking with him, but if I just lie, that means I have a logical reason.
"We will gladly let you go through our country if you just answer one thing. Did you destroy all the undead in the tombs?"
"Wh-what tomb? I only met ssskeletons in the desert and after fo-following them I end up reaching your wall, sleek sleek. Wait, did you sssend me to exterminate your undead pro-problem? Did you dare ussse a ratman to do your di-dirty job and expect him to work for free?"
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