The wind was blowing.
It was a scorching, parched wind.
A feverish wind.
Blowing down from the apex of the volcano, it completely drained the air of water, and gave it the scent of sulfur. Just touching this foul air made one realize that it was a different world. For mankind, who possessed existences with such a short lifespan, it seemed like in this place breathing was not permitted.
In this place, be it the air or the sand, everything seemed like it had to be there.
That group of people walked silently on the hillside.
Everyone was already aware of their death, but was clasping something even more important than life in the depths of their hearts.
Worn-out soles, cheap leather armor…this equipment would be seen as unimaginably inferior by even the poor armies of the island. But intense determination burned in everyone’s eyes.
Every one of them, through sheer willpower, had already surmounted the terror of facing what dwelled in that volcano.
Moreover, it was not just humans marching among them.
Among the roughly panting troops, there were young boys and girls dressed in tattered clothes, with all sorts of monsters following behind them. If you looked closely, you would see that the boys and girls had strange vines growing on their bodies, which connected them to these monsters.
They were specific to this island, called "Bound Ones", fusions of monsters and humans.
They were all very young, as almost all Bound Ones died before the age of 16.
It was like a march with death at stake, for the adults and children and monsters alike.
Despite all this, a certain young woman was also marching amongst them. As dawn turned to dusk, a hand was offered to her; a sign of salvation from abstract horror.
Thus, this tale begins...