Chapter 155: Set Sail
In these desperate straits, Zhen Jin’s heart was still filled with doubts.
“They didn’t have cores, yet I have one, why? What circumstances led to its creation?”
“What caused the core to form? Was it poison? Was it because I was more seriously wounded and had a great amount of fire-poison in my body? Was it luck or willpower? Maybe my strength, luck, and wounds were all integrated factors.”
Besides his doubts, Zhen Jin’s heart also had many fears: “Will I transform into a beastified person one day? Will I sink into bloodlust and madness, lose all rationality, and kill my companions?”
“Did the core really not influence my temperament?”
Following Zhen Jin’s constant reflection, the fear in his heart grew deeper.
“No, I fear I was greatly influenced!”
“Previously, I feared the core, but after my circumstances forced me, I used it many times and began to accept it unconsciously. Now, I deeply depend on it. Midway through, if I didn’t maintain my introspection, I fear I would have been enchanted by it.”
“Whenever I use the core to transform into a monster, my temperament seems to become insolent, and my heart despises every weaker lifeform. Absorption and conversion. I immersed myself in these powers and gradually controlled them.”
“My actions and my thoughts, as a matter of fact, have already deviated from the path of a templar knight!”
“I seem to be……constantly……degenerating?!”
“God, my master, grand Emperor Sheng Ming. I beseech thee for a response, I beseech thee to pity me, I beseech thee to save me. Thou has a lost lamb here……”
Zhen Jin knelt again, turned towards the Sheng Ming continent, and bowed his head in prayer.
And like all previous prayers, there was still no response.
This prayer was also unlike his most recent ones.
Zhen Jin’s heart no longer gained any tranquility or comfort from it.
Because he finally realized his own degradation; he also realized a possibility——wasn’t the reason why Emperor Sheng never responded to him, was because he was already depraved?
“Could it be, I became a disdained and depraved knight?”
“What should I do then?”
“Should I be honest? I should inform the others that I can also transform, that I am also actually a……beastified monster?”
“No, I can’t do that.”
As the leader, Zhen Jin clearly understood that the current situation was dangerous, it could collapse in a thought. Previously they had hope in the ship, but now everyone was trapped.
“Even if I am already depraved and no longer a templar knight, even if I am actually a beastified remodeled magic beast, I should still act as a good leader.”
They needed a leader, the needed a templar knight, they needed something to rely on, they needed a new hope.
Even if Zhen Jin had no one to rely on or hope in.
A leader should assume this heavy burden!
Zhen gradually felt that he could no longer breathe.
After experiencing all kinds of tribulations, his mental state had morphed many times, things had been different for a long time. The heaviness that stopped his breathing attacked him again.
He realized his naivety again.
He feared, not just his environment, for his future, or for his companions’ safety.
Now……he also feared himself!
“If one day, I completely beastify, lose my rationality, and harm the others, what should I do?”
“I might even kill Cang Xu, Lan Zao, and Zi Di with my own hands, if that happens, what should I do?”
“Can I control all kinds of transformations?”
“In the short term, it seems like it. It seems I have a core; the core should allow me to perfectly control my transformations……right?”
Zhen Jin had no way to see the bigger picture, there was nothing he could do to determine how the core was formed.
Perhaps, he was already close to beastification and insanity. Maybe after a few days, he’d be next.
“Maybe, I am not the only one with hidden dangers.”
“The others also have it! Those dead beastified comrades were simply the first, that's all. There will be a second batch, a third batch……even the last survivors will be reduced to the magic beasts we see on this island. They hate all outsiders as magic beasts, with their humanity and memory gone.”
The future was very cruel, and when Zhen Jin thought of it, his heart felt a chill.
He suddenly thought: “Hold on, did this happen because I lost my memory?”
“Why did the beastified people sink into insanity? Maybe native memories severely conflict and contradict between lifeform transformations, and when one form is unable to accept them, insanity occurs as a result.
“Why am I the only one capable of controlling my transformations? Am I the only one with a core? Maybe my missing memories were a major factor.”
“It’s because I lost my memories yet continued to persevere in my beliefs and hold onto my knightlyprinciples, as a result I didn’t suffer conflict and retained the most humanity.”
“How does the island master beastify people? Maybe the environment he remodeled constantly drains the humanity of others. Spending a long time here, will cause our humanity to erode into beastliness and be gradually engulfed. The more that is engulfed, the greatest the beastliness. Finally, after completely losing one’s humanity, the beast will cover them, causing complete insanity.”
That time, I persisted in my principles and bottom line, and my humanity triumphed over beastliness. That victory accumulated and resulted in the core, allowing me to rationally control my transformations, but the others are incapable of doing this.”
“If this conjecture is true, then could I absorb the beast transformations from my comrades, could I remove the beastliness and restore their rationality?”
“Incorrect, my core absorbs bloodlines. After beastification occurs, the magic beast and human bloodlines are mixed. I will absorb all of the bloodlines!”
“I actually have all of the magic beast bloodlines. But I don’t have human bloodlines, if I increased those human bloodlines, could I stabilize my humanity? Will it delay my insanity?”
Thinking of this, Zhen Jin suddenly trembled and became pale.
“What is going on with me?”
“I unexpectedly thought of attacking my human comrades?!”
However, a voice echoed in Zhen Jin’s heart.
“Don’t restrict your actions. You should be more brazen, we are already in desperate straits, if you tie your hands and wait until death approaches, then it will be too late to do anything! You cannot start over from the beginning, correct?”
“Besides, you're not killing a living person. You are simply absorbing those dead fellows, they are to be buried and have no other value, they are simply waste material to make use of!”
“Hurry, do it now, otherwise it will be too late. These people have died recently, if you absorb them now, you will gain more than doing it later!”
“Don’t forget your clan, besides you also need to consider the others. If these people were not encumbering you, you could completely transform and escape this island.”
“Because of them, you stayed here, isn’t that so?”
“Don’t recklessly hold onto these things, think back carefully, how many times have you regretted? When the spear scorpion nearly killed you, what were you thinking? Just a moment ago, don’t tell me you didn’t feel regret?”
“Do you still want tragedy to reoccur?”
“This time it was the old boat craftsman, who's next? Lan Zao? Cang Xu? Zi Di!?
“No, don't say anymore! Stop speaking!!” In extreme pain, Zhen Jin knelt on both knees, dropped his head, and buried his face in his hands.
His intense emotional state and suspicions that he was a degenerate had dissipated most of the self-confidence supporting him.
He started to become confused.
In his confused thoughts, he couldn’t tell which were rational advice and which were depraved temptations!
Zhen Jin sank into unprecedented wavering and confusion.
After a moment, he was really wavering.
A gigantic boom shook heaven and earth.
Again, the earth quaked, and the mountains shook!
The sleeping survivors all shouted in alarm and did their utmost to flee out of the ship hold.
Another earthquake approached; its magnitude was greater than any other!
The ground before everyone split open with a loud bang.
The island shifted, and cracks from the volcano spread to the beach, forming estuaries.
Saltwater and water clashed in surging waves.
After twenty breaths, the earthquake slowly settled down.
A new river now flowed before everyone, seeing the wide river channel, everyone was shocked and dumbfounded.
After a good while, the frightened and doubtful people gradually reacted.
Que Shan kneeled to the ground and softly wept: “Can we really press on? Can we really escape from this place?”
No one answered her questions, even Zhen Jin was silent.
“Even if we can persevere, this island won’t preserve for long!” Hei Juan deeply sighed.
Everyone despaired, a dark cloud of worry surrounded the survivors.
“Maybe, I still have one way.” Zi Di suddenly said.
Those words immediately attracted everyone’s gaze.
But Zi Di’s face showed hesitation.
“Say it, why are you still hesitating?” Hei Juan urged.
Zi Di deeply breathed and suddenly pointed at the volcano: “We can go to the most central area, perhaps our hope of survival is there!”
Almost everyone stared, doubting the words they heard.
Cang Xu, Zhen Jin, and Zong Ge also starred, but all of them reacted shortly after and muttered to themselves.
Zi Di continued: “Do you remember the contents of our analysis? This island has a master, and he is certainly mighty! He transformed this island, remodeled the magic beasts, and even controls the weather. He seems to breed living weapons here, however regardless of whether it is the magic prohibition environment, the weather control, or the teleportation, all of them are magical formations.”
“This island must have a control hub for these magical formations, a magician tower.”
“As long as we seize control of the control hub, we have hope.”
“Please, how are we the island master’s opponent?” Xi Suo yelled, he also stared blankly. He blankly stared at the river, gazed at the erupting volcano, and at the black volcanic clouds.
Xi Suo suddenly shouted: “Maybe the island master met with a mishap! The erupting volcano and earth splitting are signs that the magic formations are clearly out of control! No, wait a minute, when we returned to the beach, the weather became very abnormal, it was a continuous downpour that none of us ever encountered. Its possible things were already out of control then.”
“Perhaps earlier.” Zhen Jin opened his mouth, “Earlier, when we encountered a blue dog fox wolf, it was a lone magic beast. However, when we encountered them in the forest, they formed magic beast corps.”
“Controlling the magic beast corps is very burdensome for the blue dog fox wolves. Making perfume consumed magic. The longer the blue dog fox wolves controlled the magic beast corps, the more had to eat to continue making perfume.”
Cang Xu nodded and added: “The larger the magic beast corps, the more they burdened the environment. All of those magic beasts eat! Therefore, the blue dog fox wolves’ magic beast corps are clearly abnormal.”
“While we stayed in the ravine, the magic beast corps actively invaded and received constant reinforcements. This attitude is obviously them wanting to clean out their enemies. I might as well brazenly guess, it’s possible the island master ordered the blue dog fox wolves to kill all outsiders.”
“If their situation was good, I fear it would only take one of their skills to end us, it is also unlikely they would allow such upheaval on the island.
“But they didn’t do that, they ignored the island no matter what happened and only ordered the magic beast corps to deal with us.”
“This proves they are in poor health, they can only fight with the blue dog fox wolves, and are afraid of our escape, thereby exposing this place.”
“They even might be dead already.”
“Maybe, some outside cause impeded them, thus they can’t return in time!”
Zong Ge nodded: “It really might be this way. The best time to attack the control hub is now! Continuing to delay, will only lead to a dead end.”
Everyone was baffled for a spell.
Hei Juan swallowed his saliva: “Then why do we need to hurry to the center? The volcano just erupted, are you sure the control hub is there?”
Cang Xu fished out a map: “According to our exploration map, the central zone is the volcanic area. Basically, all magical formation control hubs or say, magician towers, are located in the central zone.”
Zi Di added on: “Magical formations need a huge volume of energy; the island master might be extracting the surrounding elements and is also using a magician tower’s magical power reserves. After issues appeared, the most seriously affected area was the volcano, thus it is the most likely location for a control hub or magician tower.”
Hei Juan frowned: “These are all guesses, none of you have proof!”
Zong Ge nodded and smiled: “Who can obtain proof? But it is already enough to gamble, besides what other path can we walk?”
Everyone was silent again.
“No.” Hei Juan said, “We can wait for help. Attacking the island center is too crazy! A volcano just erupted there, besides there are magic beast corps along the road, we will die enroute.”
“No, we will use the ship.” Zhen Jin’s voice sounded out, “That will cut down the distance and save time.”
Hei Juan stared blankly.
Xi Suo’s eyes shined, then he yelled: “That’s right, we can repair the ship. Although it can’t sail, there is no wind and waves in the river before us. With the volcanic clouds above us, even rain is unlikely!”
Zhen Jin continued: “In fact, even if we wait for help, a hidden danger still remains. Don’t forget our dead beastified comrades. We might be trapped in the environment’s erosion and in the island master’s tricks. Can their almighty methods be easily neutralized? Can we randomly find a chaplain that can purify us?”
“Furthermore, how dare they recklessly toy with and humiliate us, even if we are their enemy?”
“Just now, Emperor Sheng Ming illuminated me!” Zhen Jin pointed at the river.
Everyone stared blankly again.
“Could it be, did Emperor Sheng Ming make this river?”
“It's no wonder no one died.”
“The gods have insurmountable willpower!”
“Divine scion knight……” Cang Xu deeply bowed to Zhen Jin, and sighed endlessly, “Perhaps this is your heroic journey. My Lord Zhen Jin!”
Almost everyone’s scalp felt somewhat numb.
They seemed to feel they were witnessing history!
If this future heroic epic were passed on, would we have a role in it too?
Zhen Jin looked around him, after determining the will of the people had changed, he loudly ordered with incomparable staunchness: “This is my decision, we will use all of strength to repair the boat, we shall cremate our comrades, and we shall do our best to gather as many supplies as we can. We shall set sail and proceed towards……the island’s center!”