The Burning Sands - Tainted in a Foreign Land

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso Part IX

The Hare in the Hell Plains

1171 Month of the Snake, Day 4

Tiru-Kun won the duel, and the Unicorn wanted to throw a big feast for him. Iajitsu is such a ridiclous thing. Seriously, how is that supposed to really decide who is better. They gave him a Moto Wide Guard robe.

The Tar-Kahn explained the trip that evening. We have to ride 4 days north to the Hell Plains. We then ride for two months through them, using eight horses, most of which are just caring water. He also told us Jenmax- Alhaggar wouldn’t make it. I agreed to take to him.

Jenmax was surrounded by young ladies, so I talked him up infront of them, told him we’d be in the Hell Plains for four months, and then asked him if he was coming. I told him I wouldn’t stop him, and then gave him enough wine to get too drunk to leave with us in the morning.

Then I went to see Aruko and told her I had to leave on an important quest. She gave me her best goodbye.

later

Niaomi-chan walked in on Aruko-chan and I. Aruko-chan was quite upset, and Niaomi-chan said that “This was a mistake.” Then she left. It was odd, but I rejumped Aruko-chan.

Month of the Snake, Day 5

Jenmax showed up. He’s coming with us. Niaomi-chan isn’t speaking to me. She’s made about Aruko-chan. I’d like to say she missed the boat, it never leaves the dock. Not for her.

Month of the Snake, Day 9

We reached a wide open plain of sand that stretched out to the horizon. I called it Sanskatchewan, the desert that never ends.

Month of the Snake, Day 10

Taka-san showed us how to dress, keeping our heads covered, wearing robes. He taught us how to feed our horses, and make them drink. We travel only in morning and evening, because midday is too hot and night is too cold.

Month of the Horse, Day 10

Tsurichi-San hasn’t spoken to me in the last month, but she told Taka and Tiru that Jenmax was sick. He’s been sleeping on his horse too much, but he’s been breathing in too much sand. I’ve decided to wake him every hour, and make sure he’s wetting down the cloth covering his face. I hope it’s enough.

He’s in better shape than he would have been if we had just left him to follow us.

Month of the Horse, Day 12

This morning Tsurichi-san saw something in the distance. It looked like normal heat mirages to me, but when Taka-san got closer, he shouted “Run!” and started off in one direction. We reared to follow him, but Jenmax went in the other directions. I turned to follow him, and Tsurichi followed me.

Unicorn-horse sized lizards popped out of the sand. Tsurichi-san fired a few ineffectual arrows into them, and they chased us towards a ridge. I rushed forward and grabbed the reins to Jenmax’s horse, and got it under control just as I heard Niaomi’s horse goes down. I handed my reins to the kid, and jumped off the galloping horse, rolling and coming up running. The lizards snapped at me, and tried to grab me, but I was too fast. I took out all the lizards without breaking a sweat, saving Naiomi-san.

Of course, then we saw the dark wall of sand rolling towards us like a monsoon. Niaomi wanted to go back to see if we could reach Taka and Tiru. I doubted it, but she’d learned more from the Unicorn, and she was being a bitch about it, so I wasn’t going to fight her about it. The fortunes decided to prove me right, and the storm was on us on no time.

So we hunkered down together. The storm lasted for six hours, and after it ended, we threw off the sand. Niaomi fired off a whistler, and Taka and Tiru rejoined us. Jenmax didn’t, so Taka and Niaomi went after him. He was in a coma from swallowing too much sand.

Month of the Horse, Day 15

Jenmax was still in a coma, and Taka pointed out Lightening Sand, which will swallow you quicker than Osano Wo can strike. We had to walk around it, poking at the edges. It slowed us down greatly.

Month of the Horse, Day 19

We saw a fire in the distance, and when we approached we found the cart of Zaphar-sama. We begged her for help with Jenmax, and Myrial emerged from the cart. They took Jenmax inside to help him. When Niaomi checked the cart, both were missing.

Tiru started petting the Gray Ladies dog and entered a trance. He spoke to himself in a trance. When he came to he said we needed to find a man named Sai in the Jewel. Sai knew of the Ashlan, and said that they only come out at night, and offered to help us.

In the morning, Zaphar-sama was gone, and Taka left soon after. Zaphar left us with something called camel butter, which tasted terrible but stopped thurst.

Month of the Goat, Day 18

We carried on through terrible winds. We avoided lightening sand, and moved on. Then there was a light on the horizon. It glowed, and we moved closer, and when we found a hill, we saw the biggest city in the world. The glowing city sat on the banks of a wide river. It was the second most gergous site I’ve ever seen.

Until we saw the Kolat on the wall. We were very quiet, and told them we were simple travelers. The city was full of city of people. An eta child offered to guide us. As soon as he asked us, a bunch of other little buggers showed up. We hired the first one because he was the smartest. We had him lead us to the ryokan and a stable.

The innkeeper handed us the key to the room. It’s a strange metal device which keeps the door from opening, baring it even from the other side of the door.

They had a device called pump, which pulls water upstairs. We had to heat it ourselves, and it was in our room. I helped Niaomi bath, and she returned the favour.

Then I got a couple of poule from Niaomi, and headed to find a Giesha house. I learned that the Senpet women are beautiful, pale, forward and silent.

Month of the Goat, Day 19th

In the morning, we went with the Urchin, looking for jade cloth. I found a merchant who could weave jade beads into cloth. It would take a week and cost a poule, which seemed more than fair. I’ll need to pick it up on the 26th.

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