The Last Sand Golem
Chapter 4 Retrieval Mission
As the sky became pitch black with only the vast amount of stars illuminating the desert he finally reached the sand dune and began to dig into it. The howls of various creatures increased as the night stretches on. Slowly but methodically the golem covered himself with the fine sand, digging deep into it and waiting for the night to end.
Now sheltered by layers upon layers of sand the golem slowly shut down his senses to preserve the limited energy that he has. His already dark vision drifted into nothingness as the night turns lively with the sounds of howls and cries.
Meanwhile above ground, a pack of hungry fluffy scavengers discovered the transparent sand crystal and fought over it greedily forgetting that they were out in the open, without cover. Taking the opportunity for an easy snack, a giant bird swooped down and snatched three of the six rabbit-like creatures with its big sharp talons, before flying away. The rest ignored what just happened and eagerly devoured the crystal while pushing each other away, trying to get the most out of it.
As the sun slowly rose the few diurnal animals that survived the night woke up in search of leftovers. It was also then that the sand golems mind slowly activated, filling his vision with darkness as he was still buried under the sand. Digging his way out again he shielded his vision with his hand as the morning sun shone brightly upon the land. The sudden brightness shortly overwhelmed his senses before quickly got used to it.
Taking a few moments to check his surroundings the golem began to march again. Taking one slow step after the other.
The sand slowly heated up as he continued to march, fewer and fewer animals were seen, and all the moon petals already retreated beneath the sand, away from the harsh morning sun. Spotting a flock of birds in the distance flying high above in circles the golem wandered towards it, in the hope to find some energy crystal still left behind.
From the distance, #11077 could see a wounded sand dog panting and bleeding from his injured front legs. The golem stood silently for a moment before walking closer. The feral hound growled and barked at him. Leaning down he tried to pet the wounded animal, but it only bit into his sandy hand. The golem reared his hand back before watching the hound growling and spitting, trying to get the sand out of his mouth, before continuing to bark angrily.
Raising his arm back the golem shoved his hand into his chest before pulling out a spear made of the same kind of sand as his armor, core sand. This type of sand is a shade darker than the sand that comprises the sand body. It´s generated by the core and allows sand golems to form sturdier and more durable constructs. It is quite limited as the energy to produce it was vastly greater than producing the vital sand that holds the humanoid form, and sand golems could only store so much of it before becoming too rigid.
Holding the spear in hand the golem got into a low stance. In a swift movement, the sharp tip of the spear penetrated the hounds skull, ending its life. With a loud yelp, the hound slumped towards the ground lifelessly. The spear slowly shrunk back into the golems arm as the sand moved back toward the core, surrounding it.
The golem walked closer and dug his hand into the hounds stomach, searching for a sand crystal, but sadly it contained none. Standing back up the golem began to walk away now with a bloodied hand. The vultures above sensing the hounds death dived down and feasted upon the corpse, completely ignoring the golem. Silently walking away he thought about the distant past when he once was petting a group of small sand dogs that came up to him during his patrols. Looking at his bloodied hand he balled his fists as the blood-soaked red sand flaked off.
#11077 was agitated… or maybe even angry, as the humans called it… an unnatural behavior for sand golems.
His memory storage must have been piling up again, making system errors, and odd behaviors more likely to occur. Maybe it is time to wipe some memories away… again. #11077 didn´t want to end up like #9999
Another three days passed with nothing unusual happening, like most days.
Finding the sand plains slowly turning into Savana-like fields, the golem decided to camp in one of the cliff´s caves. This was once the border of the empire, right next to the Lopita kingdom. Sitting on the hard stone floor he watched the stars sparkle in the night sky, one of the few things #11077 enjoyed as he was created during such a cloudless night. The sand golem always wonders what lies beyond the desert, he never saw the ocean that the traders told the children existed, and he never saw the great forests in the west where his comrades fought. He was stuck inside the Sakatar empire´s desert territory…
Noticing a shooting star, he remembered that seeing one grants you a wish. He wished for the time when the empire was still standing, to a time when he still had a purpose… but the millions of shooting stars never fulfilled his wish. However, he continued to make wishes as the stars continue to whiz past.
A few days passed.
The soldier was now standing in front of a lone dried-up tree. Placing a hand on the dry bark it crumbled down. Staring blankly at the husk for a bit, he continued to walk under the scorching sun. The rivers dried up as the dry season arrived. It was almost the start of a new year.
The few rivers that went through the lands were largely man-made and with no one taking care of them, they slowly dried up. But a few still stand till now making life around them abundant.
So planning his next destination, #11077 took off towards the Godali river in search of more sand crystals.
A month passed.
During his march, he collected enough energy to restore vital sand and core sand back to 100% except for energy which is at 74%.
Now at a hill overseeing the Godali river, #11077 saw the many diverse vegetation and wildlife surrounding the water source. Even during the day the animals and plants are outside. He could see a few canis resting underneath a guidetree, while the pups were play fighting with each other.
The scenery was a good chance of the usual monotonous sight. The golem slowly desendet towards the river.
The sandy floor slowly became patches of grass as he walked closer to the river. A few curious animals looked toward the newcomer but otherwise ignored him. The sand golem having stored up enough energy, for now, searching for a comfortable spot under a tree. Finding a particular large guidetree he sat under it and rested his back against the bark.
It was time to do some maintenance work on the core and system.
[Auto defense mode is active!]
The sand golems body turned rigid as small sand spikes formed on his armor. His senses turned off as he sinks into nothingness.
[Runing diagostic scan!]
[Problems found: Memory storage at 102%! Emotion stabilizer unstable!]
[Searching for solutions…]
[Deleting unnecessary memories!]
[Memory storage 102%…]
[Memory storage 101%…]
[Memory storage 100%…]
[Memory storage 99%…]
[Memory storage 71%…]
[Memory storage out of critical range!]
[Emotion stabilizer stable!]
The soldiers core didn´t have this pressure in his core anymore and was running at top condition again.
[Auto defense mode deactivated!]
The spikes retreaded again, but #11077 sat there unmoving. the birds in the tree chirped above him and the sounds of the flowing river filled his senses again. As he sat there a few curious canis pups walked towards #11077. They waged their tails as he turned his head towards them. the circled him and yelped but otherwise stayed a few paces away. Their parents watched them carefully, but otherwise let their pups do as they pleased.
#11077 slowly raised a hand towards them, carefully to not scare them off. The pups backed off slightly and sniffed the air. Smelling no thread the bravest one out of the group walked towards the hand and sniffed it. A few grains of sand went into the nose, and the pup turned its head and sneezed a few times. It growled at the outstretched hand but seeing no reaction it just huffed and sat beside the tree, under the shade.
#11077 watched the pups behavior, even if it was a wild animal, the pups still behaved quite docile and naive. Not knowing that the sand golem could kill everything in this area.
After a few minutes of watching the pups play around him, the mother barked ordering them to go back.
Seeing the pups walk away, he took it as queue to finally collect some energy crystals again. Walking towards the river he searched for energy sources. A few places lit up in the sea, indicating some fish inside.
Searching the shore he immediately found a small crystal, sadly it had too many impurities inside to be useful. It would only do more harm to the core than good. So throwing it into the river he saw a giant plated fish swim towards the sinking gem and gulp it down before disappearing back into the river.
The rest of the day was spent collecting energy. The river carried many crystals inland and so it didn take long to top the golems energy reserve back to full.
Night time came but #11077 still stayed awake. With full energy and plenty of energy crystals around the riverside, he watched the hunters emerging, and they were hungry. The guidetrees lit up as the fluorescent leaves shone in a pale golden light. They guided lost travelers toward water during the night, as they only grow near large water sources. The night became just a little bit brighter.
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