Chapter 21: Water in the Tent

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio  Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

Basic scientific concepts existed in this world.

Eat, drink, sleep.

Workout, labor, rest.

However, something that both shocked and puzzled Kant happened right before him.

A Jackalan Tribe of such a huge scale was not anywhere near an oasis with an abundance of water. It was right there in the middle of nowhere in the desert. Even more baffling was that they were able to thrive for generations under such conditions. Upon seeing that, Kant’s jaw almost dropped to the ground.

Kant pursed his lips a little. In a subdued voice, he said, “Maybe there’s water around here.”

“No, there is no water whatsoever.”

The Desert Bandit shook his head, instantly disagreeing with Kant’s suggestion.

He looked at the surrounding dunes. In a serious tone, he said, “If there is some sort of underground water source around these parts, there would be drought-resistant plants here. If you look around carefully, My Lord, you’ll find nothing of the sorts around here.”

Nothing but a vast ocean of sand surrounded them.

Kant narrowed his gaze on the tribe.

“How is such a massive Jackalan Tribe able to survive here?” he asked with a rather heavy tone.

The Desert Bandit shook his head and replied, “I have no idea.”

“Well, they can’t just be able to drink by eating sand, can they?”

Kant looked on with a grim expression. The mass of messy tents was right there before his eyes, including a large number of Jackalans. All of that made him look extremely glum. It was a force that could easily crush his fledgling Drondheim.

He took a deep breath and quelled his emotions. “They definitely have a water source somewhere.”

Yes, there has to be a water source.

Kant was sure of that.

If there was no water around somewhere, the Jackalans would not have built their tribe in such a place.

No creatures wanted to simply die.

That even applied to these primitive Jackalans.

“Look, they’re cooking now.”

The Desert Bandit’s words prompted Kant to turn his gaze.

It was evening, so it was time for dinner. That much was the same with the Jackalans.

Many aged Jackalans came out of their tents.

Pieces of torn dried meat were being distributed by female Jackalans to the others around them. It seemed that all property belonged to the tribe. Even food was distributed from a single source.

That likely included the most precious commodity in the desert—fresh water.

However, all the fresh water came from the centermost part of the tribe.

It was a huge tent. It was five times larger than the other Jackalan tents, which made it look like conventional houses instead. The tent was erected using various wooden materials. It gave off a kind of feral grace.

“Is that the tent of the Jackalan Tribe’s chieftain?”

Kant slightly narrowed his eyes toward the tent. He was able to easily see the largest tent set up in the center.

He grew even more suspicious of what was happening.

He saw a withered and wrinkled Jackalan walk out of the tent with a wooden staff. Even though Kant was on a dune hundreds of feet away from the center of the Jackalan Tribe, he still felt somewhat intimidated.

“That old Jackalan looks dangerous.”

The Desert Bandits shared the same thought. One of them couldn’t help but say, “He strikes fear into people.”

“Yeah.” Kant nodded and frowned. “Just keep quiet and they won’t detect us.”

That old Jackalan, who was outside the huge tent in the center, seemed to have said something. It caused the Jackalans throughout the tribe to begin gathering. They formed a rather crooked line.

Some of the Jackalans even began to fight and tear at each other due to their brutal nature.

However, a Jackalan, who looked even stronger, emerged from the huge tent.

“It’s the Jackalan chieftain.”

Kant had read famous works by scholars before, so he immediately recalled who that strong Jackalan likely was.

That strong Jackalan wore a set of ill-fitted mail armor. It seemed to be something he took from humans. Somehow, he barely managed to wear it on the upper half of his body.

On his lower body, he seemed to be wearing something pieced together from two sets of mail armor.

There was also the outer layer of a linen robe. It covered the mail armor worn beneath. All that made the chieftain looked powerful and intimidating.

He also held something that differed from what the other Jackalans were using. It was a two-handed battle-ax.

During the Dukedom of Leo’s purge of the Jackalans 10 years ago, they destroyed several larger, stronger Jackalan Tribes. Their chieftains mostly appeared in such attire. Kant had a bit of an impression of them.

As he recalled the books he had read, his mind jolted for a bit.

He recalled an article he once read.

“That old Jackalan… Is that Jackalan Shaman capable of spell-casting?”

Kant’s eyes slightly widened.

The old Jackalan, who held a wooden staff and stood right outside the huge tent, was a match to what he had read about. He could not have mistaken it for anything else. The mention of such a creature was too fresh in his mind.

Furthermore, only Jackalan Shamans were capable of witchcraft. Also, only a being like that was deemed eligible to share a tent with a Jackalan Chieftain.

“That is getting worse.”

Kant slowly gritted his teeth and flashed a bitter smile.

While there were few spellcasters in the world, none of them were to be taken lightly.

For instance, the scholars at the Dukedom of Leo recorder information about them. They wrote down that the Jackalan Shamans should be a “top priority target during attacks, and make sure to take them out in the shortest period of time possible.”

That was because the Jackalan Shamans were capable of casting spells on their own.

Their spells included Bloodlust, which could cause their targets to forget pain and know only slaughter.

There was also Berserk, which was a spell capable of causing a target to become irritable and filled with killing intent.

The shaman was also even able to cast Stoneskin, which allowed the skin of the target to turn as hard as a rock.

All of those were highly regarded spells a capable Jackalan Shaman could cast.

During the purge orchestrated by the dukedom 10 years ago, every time a Jackalan Shaman was found in a tribe, casualties occurred among the dukedom’s forces before they were able to take that tribe down.

Casualties included infantry and cavalry units, archers, and even regular armies who tagged alongside mages.

If Kant’s forces were to take on one such tribe, even if the number of the Jackalans was more or less the same as his forces, one Jackalan Shaman alone was able to tip the scales significantly to the Jackalans’ favor.

That was the edge provided by a spellcaster.

“They are bringing their water out!”

The Desert Bandits gasped, interrupting Kant’s thoughts.

Kant frowned and looked. A Jackalan held a tattered urn in front of the tent. It gulped down fresh water before handing the urn to the next Jackalan and going elsewhere.

It was the same with the next Jackalan.

The process was repeated over and over. The entire tribe had all drunk water in order.

“There’s a well in the huge tent!”

The Desert Bandits looked at each other. They found affirmation in each other’s eyes.

Kant nodded as well. He frowned and said, “There is a well. I never expected that their tribe would have found a patch of desert with a well in it. It’s no surprise that they were able to get so developed.”

“If there’s a well, there should be a huge water reserve underground.”

The Desert Bandits were puzzled. “But where are the few plants that should be around the place?”

In truth, there were no plants around the place.

Kant frowned. He found himself unable to explain the phenomenon.

Kant exhaled and ordered the Desert Bandits behind him, “We ride home now.”

Their scouting mission was complete.

However, the result was something they found difficult to stomach.

In the beginning, Kant thought the Jackalan Tribe they found next would be of little difference with the one at the Oasis Lookout. However, looking at the tribe, which had at least 2,500 of Jackalans in it, he became rather dejected.

That was not a number he had any way of resisting.

“We need to work this one out.”

Kant gritted his teeth, trying to console himself.

At the very least, he had time to rethink his plans.

If resisting that many Jackalans were to prove impossible, they could immediately give up the Oasis Lookout and retreat to the Senwaya Range. That was possible because Kant still had 65 Swadian infantry units with him. There were more than enough to handle the complex mountainous terrain.

Then again, Kant felt reluctant to leave the vast desert behind.

This was the place he planned on developing with everything he had.

“My Lord, maybe we could continue moving deeper into the desert.”

One of the Desert Bandits wasn’t shy about making a suggestion.

Kant looked at the deeper reaches of the Nahrin Desert with a solemn expression. “It seems like there is something deep in the desert. Look at the tracks left behind by the Jackalans in the sand. They probably lead somewhere into the deeper parts.”

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