Chapter 135: Family and Hope
Inside a tent.
“Cough cough cough……” The boat craftsman was lying on a grass bed, his complexion was flush, his breathing was weak, his skin was swollen, and everything he saw was fuzzy.
“Sorry, my Lords for……troubling you all.” The boat craftsman said dispiritedly.
“Rest well, don’t think too much, with me here, no one will be abandoned.” Zhen Jin did his best to soothe the boat craftsman.
Soon after, he, Zi Di, and some others slowly left the tent.
“How are things?” Hei Juan immediately inquired, “We cannot lose the boat craftsman, how is his illness?”
Zi Di shook her head and sighed: “I have said to you all a few times, I am just a pharmacist that specializes in perfume, I am not a doctor.”
“I can’t find the reason for why he is sick.”
“It shouldn’t be poison or magical corrosion that is making him ill.”
“If it were an ordinary illness, I would have been somewhat certain about it. But it is very possible this kind of illness is related to the environment here; I don’t even know where to start.”
Zong Ge’s voice was gloomy: “Not only does the boat craftsman have this illness, there are also a few others that are sick. I suspect this is a contagious disease.”
Everyone’s expression changed.
“Contagious disease……” Zhen Jin’s complexion was grave and he inwardly sighed.
It had already been ten days since entering the rainforest, and now he had encountered another predicament.
This predicament was not fierce magic beasts, or food or water shortages, rather a disease had struck.
“Although the severity of the symptoms among the sick are varied, they are all similar. Should we abandon these people?” Tripleblade asked Zhen Jin.
“Abandon?” Hei Juan shook his head, “Without the boat craftsman, how can we build a ship?”
Zong Ge sighed: “We cannot let the sickness infect more people, this time it is necessary, we have no other choice……”
He did not finish his sentence, but everyone’s heart shivered.
Zong Ge’s conduct was full of the army’s style, it was callous and efficient.
Zhen Jin shook his head: “Don’t abandon anyone so easily. Look again at happens next, the boat craftsman is very important, but the others also have the right to live, they are all our comrades!”
“Templar knight, sometimes being too benevolent is being too indecisive, that will cause greater damage.” Zong Ge gazed at Zhen Jin, his attitude just as firm as it had been in the past.
Zhen Jin did not hesitate to look at the half beastman square in the eyes: “I understand your reasoning, but this has just happened, this isn’t the time for cruel resolution, right?”
Zong Ge did not retort, instead he turned around to leave.
The two parted in bad terms, this made the ambience heavier.
For the next several days, the disease spread, with many more people discovering they had the same illness.
“I lack instruments.” Zi Di complained to Zhen Jin, “I cannot use magic, and my medicinal techniques and skills are not enough. Currently, I can only mix some simple herbal medicines to alleviate their pain.
Zi Di didn’t have any methods.
Zong Ge looked for Zhen Jin again to repeat his previous proposal, this time Cang Xu also came along.
Cang Xu was also a very rational man, he stood by Zong Ge and informed Zhen Jin: in many areas with plague, without enough doctors and chaplains, the local lords would lead knights to behead and burn the sick in order to contain the spread of the disease. If the plague was constrained, the massacred civilians, lords, and knights involved would receive high level imperial condemnations that would all be placed in the palace hall.
“It is not yet time.” Zhen Jin refused the two’s suggestion again, “Currently the disease hasn’t killed anyone, furthermore haven’t you two discovered something? Only ordinary people have fallen ill, this is not an extraordinary or disastrous illness. Perhaps this is due to the abrupt change in air temperature and caused by mental pressure as well as exhaustion.”
Zhen Jin cut down their distance traveled per day, and every night he had them pitch camp to rest.
He gathered all of the ill people and did his best to separate them from the others.
Every day he would visit these sick people.
“My Lord, please don’t abandon us……”
“I still want to live! “My Lord, will I die?”
“Lord Zhen Jin, you are worthy of being called a templar knight. If I die, can you give this money to my wife and child?”
Zhen Jin could only use language to placate these people.
“This is just a small ailment; you must believe in yourselves.”
“You must believe in me! I am not just a templar knight, I am a divine scion knight.”
“You all must understand, perhaps Emperor Sheng Ming is watching this place!”
Zhen Jin still maintained his nighttime patrols.
Every night, he did his best to eliminate the nearby beast groups and gave the group better security.
However, as more and more people fell ill, Zhen Jin also felt he was in poor health.
“The core is ineffective against gold level lifeforms.”
“Even if I can transform into many things, I cannot treat illnesses.”
“What should I do in the end?”
“What is the correct thing to do?”
The patients longed to see Zhen Jin every day, despite understanding Zhen Jin could not treat them and his mouth could not grant them god’s favor, every time they saw Zhen Jin, their hearts would stabilize——it was proof Zhen Jin hadn’t given up on them.
Zong Ge, Cang Xu, Hei Juan, and some others became increasingly upset, with more and more people standing at their side.
The belief that “Zhen Jin was too young and benevolent” was privately endorsed by even more people.
The situation grew ever more critical, Zhen Jin began to worry Zong Ge was acting secretly, like when he privately ordered more half elves to serve as scouts and expanded the detection range.
Zi Di still supported Zhen Jin, just as she had in the past. From the time Zhen Jin regained consciousness to this current journey, Zi Di had always acted like this. But this time, she used a soft tone to persuade Zhen Jin: don’t visit these patients as much as possible, catching the disease by chance would be too terrible.
Lan Zao especially stood by Zi Di’s admonishment, he asked Zhen Jin many times for orders, he wanted to replace Zhen Jin as the one visiting the patients.
But how could that happen?
Zhen Jin knew the patients were scared.
Lan Zao could not replace Zhen Jin.
The group was not big, but the people’s hearts were different, and pressure from all sides pressed down on Zhen Jin’s heart.
It was only natural this would make Zhen Jin doubt himself——maybe Zong Ge’s proposal was sensible. Is my decision wrong? Will I drag the entire group into the abyss of eternal damnation?
This question could not be determined.
Because he was not a prophet, and he did not have a rich life experience.
People judge on whether something is right or wrong based on their outcome. But when an outcome occurs, it would be too late.
Zhen Jin sensed he was lonely; this was how a leader felt.
There were naturally difficulties behind the scenes.
Every day became very long, the constant coughs of the isolated people made it especially unbearable.
Zhen Jin still stood up to all the pressure.
After one week, the situation began to improve.
The patients began to get better, and their bodies began to slowly recover.
Another week later.
The majority of the patients clearly recovered this proved Zhen Jin’s strategy was valid.
Zong Ge, Cang Xu, and the others no longer expressed their previous proposal, and the team members no longer privately discussed “the templar knight Zhen Jin’s excessive benevolence”, rather they praised him as wise and as someone who deserves the title divine scion knight!
As the people finally traversed through the jungle and arrived the beach, upon seeing the spacious sea, the people could not restrain their emotions as they cheered.
At this time, the boat craftsman was a lot better. At his strong request, someone supported him as he walked to the beach, and upon seeing the great waves, he silently wept tears.
Zhen Jin had suffered, the boat craftsman and the patients even more so. During that time, their hearts were filled with the fear of death.
At this moment, the group hadn’t reached their destination yet.
Zhen Jin and the others still needed to follow the beach up north, they needed to first find the camp and converge with the other survivors.
“This is the final stretch, then we can converge with them!” Zhen Jin informed everyone of the heartening news.
The people still looked at the young knight with admiration and respect, however compared to before, it was as if there were some new changes.
The journey suddenly became relaxed.
Because everyone no longer needed to cut down vines, chop a way forward, drag the wooden carts along, or frequently relocate supplies.
Comparing the beach to the rainforest, although the beach had reefs, it was far emptier, and it had a very level terrain.
Thus the group’s morale rose at a steady pace.
Then one day, an excited Bai Ya came back to the group.
As a scout, he had a small cast on him.
“Hey, what is this thing I found on the beach?” Bai Ya’s voice quickly attracted many people.
“That must be cargo from the Hog’s Kiss.”
“I guess it has good things inside?”
“Open it quickly, I am itching to see what’s inside!”
Everyone opened the cast and found a dozen or more bottles of rum inside.
As a result, the group cheered again.
After getting the news, Zhen Jin smiled and declared that a bonfire banquet would be held that same evening.
The banquet was extremely crude, food and water were limited, but the people were very excited as they sat around the bonfires.
Zhen Jin specifically appointed Bai Ya as the rum pourer
Most of the rum were reserve supplies, thus only a few bottles were used.
As Bai Ya walked in front of a team member, the team member immediately clasped his hands together and gazed at Bai Ya’s rum bottle.
The rum quickly filled up his hands.
But the team member was still unsatisfied: “Pour more, pour a bit more!”
“Get lost! It is this old man’s turn.” Another team member loudly urged.
Ultimately, everyone only had a pitiful mouthful of rum, however the fire shined upon every one of their happy smiles.
Sometimes, obtaining this kind of happiness was simple.
At the edge of the group, Zhen Jin was sitting on a reef, his eyes sweeping around.
He looked at the tattered clothing and scraggly beards that made everyone look like savages. He looked at Bai Ya earnestly pouring rum, he saw Fei She sucking up wine from his hands, he saw Zi Di’s ragged magic gown, and he saw Cang Xu wiping his eyes clean. After passing through the jungle, his spectacles only had one lens left, the other side of the frame was empty.
Mu Ban held an empty rum bottle, his finger caressing the surface——this was the feeling of human civilization.
Zong Ge and Tripleblade were discussing in low voices.
The giant was sitting on the ground and was respectfully listening to the boat craftsman’s song.
Lan Zao was still loyally standing on the beach behind Zhen Jin.
Hei Juan gave the wine in his hands to someone near him. He gazed to the west, towards the Sheng Ming Continent, his home.
Zhen Jin gazed at the night sky.
A vast sky of stars continued as far as the eye could see.
The waves undulated with the sound of gurgling water.
The seawater’s obscene odor assailed the nostrils.
He gazed into the east, towards the Wilderness Continent, White Sands City, his duty, and his future hopes.