Chapter 1 – Heat stroke.
In the middle of a barren brown desert that can only be described as a bone dry basin of vastness and death. A young woman could be seen walking along.
She held out a small blue rock in front of her and much like a compass it guided her on her journey. If she made a wrong turn somewhere it would blink unceasingly until she corrected her path.
Needless to say this was the most desolate and lonesome environment she had ever been in. A castaway in a sea of sand.
Three days had now passed and she had yet to lay eyes on either man or beast anywhere. Her food supplies were running low and her water was all but over. If she didn’t find some soon then death would certainly come knocking. She was not it though, in fact she travelled to this place knowing full well that the chances of losing her life were very high.
So then why did she choose to come anyway?
That is because the trials for the next Valley King were starting and in order to take them, one needed to cross this desert. Her father once told her, that even hell itself could not have scorched away all evidence of nature as this place had.
Suddenly about a quarter mile away, she caught a glimpse of three silhouettes. One was large and the other two significantly smaller.
She quickly picked up the pace and sprinted in their direction. Honestly she would rather not go, but the fact that she needed water left her with no choice.
As the distance between them lessened, the young lady could now make out the three people. The abnormally large one was a middle aged man, whose facial was all grey. From his mussed hair and fully grown beard to even his sickle-shaped eyebrows, all were gray. He was sited comfortably on a carpet that had all manner of fruits and drinks on it. Beside him, sat a small boy that was childishly feasting on the food.
In front of them was a young man, kneeling on the hot sand.
“Please, all I ask is for a drink of water. I’ll leave if you grant me just that!” pleaded the young man.
“Did you not ask for everything when you first came. I believe you said, “Give me all of it or your son will lose his father today!” Why the sudden change of tone?” asked the large man.
The young lady was now upon the group of three and as she opened her mouth to say something, her eyes drifted onto the young man’s face where by she saw the most horrific scene of her life.
She unconsciously covered her mouth in shock.
The man’s ears were attached to his cheeks, his mouth was now on his forehead and his eyes were where his mouth used to be.
“What can I do for you little miss?” asked the large man as his clear piercing blue eyes focused on her.
“Not...Nothing! Pardon my intrusion.”
“Hmmm, Papa doesn’t she want food?” asked the little boy.
“Quiet! The reason we stopped was so that you could eat, or perhaps are you full?”
Hearing this, the little boy took one look at the young girl before him and just like a child that throws away his toy, turned back to his food and never looked back.
“I won’t allow you to leave until you listen to what I have to say!” said the large man. His words causing the girl to remain still.
“I will give to both of you gifts today and I’ll even make you a promise.”
“Let me finish! You can take all the food and water you like from me as I don’t really need it. However you must make it through the desert alive. If you fail, then whichever clan, school or family that you come from will be destroyed, but......if you do survive then I will grant you one wish.”
The young man and woman remained there speechless until,
“Might you be the Valley King?” asked the girl.
“Papa, doesn’t like that name.” shouted the child.
“Forgive my son. He still needs to learn manners; I think I might have spoiled him too much.
So then, what is your answer?”
The young man with the deformed face was the first to speak,
“I accept!” He said this not because he thought it was a good deal but because the effects of the heat were starting to cause him pain. His tongue was cloven to the roof of his mouth, he felt as if a snake had wrapped itself around his throat, slowly squeezing the life out of him and the most painful of all was that his eyes felt like they had melted into the back of his mind.
How he was able to feel this with his face the way it was, is unknown.
The girl on the other hand took her time. If this man was truly the Valley King, then her decision may or may not lead to the death of her entire clan.
“You came here to attain power did you not?” asked the Valley King.
“Then why are you hesitating? Unless you cross this desert, there is no way for you take the trials.”
“I apologise but I can’t accept your kindness.” Her voice was confident and stern but the shivering of her arms gave away her fear.
The King frowned and with a wave of his hand, the girl disappeared.
“Whe...Where did the girl go?” asked the young man.
The Valley King didn’t answer; he instead threw a small sack towards the boy and said,
“There is enough food and water in there to keep you satisfied. Now, leave!”
The boy was happy but he couldn’t leave yet. Not until his face was fixed.
“Um...my face?” he asked.
“I’ll find you once you cross the desert.”
With that the carpet the King was sitting on floated up and then burst forward at incredible speed.
“Papa, why do you look so happy?”
“Nim, I think this year Papa might just have some fun.”
“Haha...because I’ve finally met some kids who remind me of myself.”
“She’s one of four who declined my offer and the least impressive one by far, but then again I haven’t seen much. No matter, the trials will reveal all!”
“What about the ugly one?”
“Him? He’ll die of heat stroke. Very slowly and very painfully! After that I’ll get rid of one of those pesky schools that keep sending brats here.”
“Heat stroke?...What’s that?”
“Hmm, well I’ll just tell you what happened to me.”
“Yes when I was still human! I came here for the trials to be the next Valley King but I vastly underestimated this desert.
My body slowly lost water due to the high temperature.
At two to four percent loss, fatigue started to set in and then the headache’s started.
At five to six percent water loss, my pulse quickened because my heart started having problems pumping thicker blood. The decreased circulation led to more fatigue, and then the terrible thirst kicked in.
I drank my own urine back when I still could urinate, in order to quench my thirst. But after some time my body ran out of water so I couldn’t produce anymore piss.
My blood vessels dilated in an attempt to cool me down. Then I drifted in and out of consciousness due to a lack of oxygen to the brain. After that came the muscle aches and the sensitive skin.
I survived all of that but then at eight to ten percent loss, I stopped producing saliva. My brain became disorientated and started to misfire. Basically I was going crazy.
Finally at twelve to thirteen percent loss, I stopped sweating and a fever took a hold of me which triggered the convulsions. Essentially at this point my brain was cooking itself.
After all that I basically became cold-blooded at the mercy of the outside temperature.”
“Don’t worry, I had a pill from my Master that saved my life. I just wanted to know how it felt to be someone dying of heat stroke. Not fun!”
“That’s what’s gonna happen to the ugly one?” asked Nim.
“Probably. That is if he escapes the sand worms and the fire scorpions.”
“Hmmm?” Nim was confused.
“I laced the special sack with magic that’ll attract hopefully all of them towards him.”
“Papa, is so cruel.” Shouted Nim with a chicken leg in hand.
“I’m not the one that made his face like that though, am I?” laughed the Valley King.
Hope you enjoyed the chap :)