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203 The Western Continen

 The Dark Tidal Coast, Western Continent.

The presence of magical beasts and unnatural marine creatures made the oceans in this world far dangerous than the oceans of Earth. That was why despite their richness, there weren't many who made their living dependent on the ocean.

That certainly begs the question: would the fattened nobles of this world give up on the marine delicacies that were rarer than it was on Earth?

The answer was naturally no.

In fact, it was exactly because marine delicacies were rarer here than Earth that the nobles coveted it even more. After all, more than the taste, they would enjoy looking important for having things others didn't have.

No trade means no hunting, although the opposite holds true as well.

When something is rare enough that people would pay enough for peasants to go months without worrying, brave people would naturally appear no matter how dangerous the hunt would be.

And Laybit was one of them.

But it just won't be quite right to call him brave.

***

Laybit's tribe used to dwell near the Vierlin hills. However, his kind was not exactly physically fit and Bellphon-God King of Beasts never showed mercy to his tribe, which meant there had never been a warrior who hailed from the plains of Vierlin.

Therefore, when the other races became jealous of the profits his tribe gained by gathering mountain delicacies and various rare herbs, it only made sense that they were chased away from their former home.

The Leos' Grayclaw tribe would have upheld justice in their stead, but it had all changed when Swordtail Grayclaw became tribe leader.

That scrawny, sinister Leo who completely wrapped himself in a black cloak and did not look at all like your typical bold and fearsome Leo. He even began to strengthen ties with Hyena-men and Graywolf-folk, bullying weaker tribes of other races without restraint and often forcing them to pay tributes.

It was the same for Laybit's tribe.

With all their savings drained dry, their tribe were then chased away from their own homelands and forced to live at the dangerous, barren reaches of the Dark Tidal Coast.

Now, they could only survive on gathering seaweed-but there is no way that they could survive with just that.

Once any child in their settlement gets sick, they would wither away if there was no money paid to the shamans to treat them. In the end, they would die in despair!

It meant nothing even if one of the shamans would suddenly grow a conscience and would treat the child without a fee. Even if they had the list of medicine needed, they would still need money for the medicine!

That was precisely why the chief of Laybit's tribe steeled himself and made the decision after suffering for so long: the tribe must take to the seas and gather whatever sea foot the tides wash to the shore of the Dark Tidal Coast, extract shells latching on to reefs and trade it with humans for gold!

On Earth, this would be a leisurely way of making manner and even a good pastime, but immeasurably dangerous in this world: oceanic reptiles and magical beasts lurked in waters even in water that was just a meter deep and attack anyone on the shore.

There were sea scorpions and man-eating king crabs as well, lurking beneath the sand and basically taking out a human with each strike.

Couple that factor with how the Laybit's people were quite frail and not made to fight, three were lost to the sea in less than a month-Laybit himself even witnessed his cousin being whisked away by some unusual prawn-like beast with its massive pincers, and there was no chance that he would survive.

Be that as it may, Laybit's tribe withstood their fear so that their tribe could survive and continued searching for valuables amidst the tides.

And after a month of practice, Laybit more or less gained some experience. He could now see spots where the sand was different, give a wide birth to places where air bubbles were popping out while keeping an eye for middling-sized sea life he could catch.

Today, however, he found something different.

***

In the beach not too far from him, three men were laying prone over the sand in bizarre postures, the tides rushing at them and possibly washing them away at any given moment.

At first, Laybit wanted to mind his own business-floating corpses were rare, but his tribe had seen them before. They also knew that there were certain parasitic bugs that would hide inside those corpses, waiting to attack anyone coming too close.

However, Laybit soon noticed that one of the corpses had a triangular beast ear.

Aside from the rather funny way its soaked fur was sticking out, Laybit who had once followed his tribe chief father to visit the Grayclaw tribe knew very well that it wasn't a feline or any other humanoid, but a Leo's ears!

It's a Leo corpse!

While Laybit didn't know what killed the Leo, bringing the corpse back to his tribe might be a good chance to get on the Grayclaws' good side...

With that thought in mind, Laybit slowly made his approach.

Nonetheless, before he could touch the corpse, it suddenly twitched and growled in pain. That startled Laybit, and he pounced a few steps backward.

Luckily, the Leo wasn't doing anything unusual, which allowed Laybit to relax. Carefully approaching him again, Laybit then took out a tusk clam he just dug out and poked the Leo.

After a while, the Leo opened his eyes, finally regaining consciousness.

"Koff..." He choked out a mouthful of seawater, looking lost. "Where... am I..."

"The Dark Tidal Coast." Laybit cautiously maintained his distance as he answered softly. "Are you a Grayclaw?"

The Leo's reaction changed immediately when he heard the name 'Grayclaw'. His frail, harmless-as-a-pet-look vaporized as well, replaced by the determined visage of a hunter.

"You know the Grayclaws? I see, it's a bemusing process but I guess I'm finally back." He mumbled to himself thoughtfully, before looking at Laybit and became surprised. "Aren't you a Long-ear? I remember that your tribe lives along the Vierlin Hills, why would you be here at the coasts?"

"Why else?! You Grayclaws annexed the lands of my tribe and gave it to the Black Fangs!" Laybit[1]'s ears drooped unhappily at Zonyan question.

"I see... so that's how it is." The Leo stroke his chin, and got to his feet. He then glanced at the other two corpses and then kicked them each.

"Get up, stop sleeping! We've arrived at the Western Continent!"

[1] Laybit is a rabbit :3