Chapter 31: The Truth Behind the Poisoning
Zhen Jin looked around. Seeing that everyone’s agitated mood had settled down and that the light of hope was glimmering in their eyes, he felt relieved. He ordered Huang Zao to direct everyone to set up camp again and create a defensive perimeter by laying traps.
Inside the tent, Zhen Jin, Cang Xu, Zi Di, and Lan Zao gathered together once more. Cang Xu started first, ashamedly admitting his mistake, “This is all my fault! I did not expect the goat meat would be poisonous. The immediate benefits blinded my eyes to reason! When I found how large the flocks were, I should have realized how strange it was and been alert to any potential dangers!”
Zhen Jin shook his head. “This island is strange and terrible, and we all wanted to procure more food. The blame is not yours alone, Mr. Cang Xu. As the leader, I am even more to blame. However, it is meaningless now to dwell on our mistakes. Let us think carefully. How should we solve this dilemma?”
Sighing in admiration, Cang Xu replied, “This cold poison is very unusual. On the surface, it seems the cold poison will flare up as long as we travel a certain distance away from this place. But I believe the temperature is the true cause. Here, near the snowy mountains, the temperature is low, and the cold poison does not flare up.
“As we get farther from the snowy mountains, temperature increases, and after reaching a certain degree, the cold poison in us would be triggered. The evidence supporting this theory is the woolen garments! When we took them off, our body temperatures rapidly fell, thus alleviating the symptoms of the cold poison. That is all I know about the cold poison.”
After he finished, he turned to Zi Di. Zhen Jin and Lan Zao also did the same. Ever since Zi Di regained her mobility, she had been experimenting with concoctions using goat meat and her own blood.
Presently, she held a glass test tube containing a blood-like liquid in her hand. She then carefully dropped small pellets into the tube. When the liquid came into contact with the pellets, it began to bubble and boil. Then, with a bang, the test tube exploded.
The red liquid that was in it spilled onto the tent’s flooring. But Zi Di was not concerned. She bent down, her eyes focused, as she carefully picked out the small pellets from the carpet. After a dozen breaths, she had collected many of the pellets into the palm of her hand.
She examined these pellets. Immediately, she discovered all kinds of cracks had appeared on the pellets. These cracks were not normal. Rather, they were tinged with a gray hue. Seeing this, her eyes shone. “Everyone, I believe I have found the true cause.”
“Oh? What kind of cold poison is it?” asked Zhen Jin.
Zi Di shook her head slightly. “In reality, there is no cold poison in the goat meat. Before we ate the meat, for safety, I used various methods to test the mutton’s edibility. My results were not wrong—the goat meat is not poisonous.” The other three were baffled and wondered if something else was where the poison came from. But Zi Di shook her again. “The goat meat is, indeed, the cause of the problem.”
While the doubt on Zhen Jin’s and Lan Zao’s faces grew stronger, realization dawned on Cang Xu’s face as he blurted out, “Is it an imbalance of magic power?”
“Correct, that is the cause. Here, near those snowy mountains, the concentration of ice elements is high. As the goat flocks survived and multiplied here, the ice elements seeped into their bodies. If these goats were born of nature, then their bodies could coordinate and accumulate the stable magic power and form a magic crystal.
“However, according to our previous conjecture, these goats are all artificial creatures and cannot coordinate their magic power. The ice elements in their bodies cannot be assimilated in a natural way, and although the elements can be transformed into magic, the magic power is very chaotic and mutually conflicting. Other than the inability to form a magic crystal, it also possesses another characteristic—when the temperature is low, it is relatively stable and lurks in the body. When the temperature increases to a certain degree, it would suddenly burst out and cause symptoms similar to cold poison.
“Back then, I thought it was a cold poison, so I took a detoxifier potion made of fire element ingredients. As a result, the fire attribute magic power in the potion instead stimulated the ice attribute magic power further. The clash of these two elements was what caused me to lose consciousness.” Zi Di paused and then continued, “Because of this, after we took off the goat wool clothes, our body temperatures rapidly fell. This allowed the ice attribute magic power to once again stabilize, thus quickly improving our condition.”
On hearing this analysis, the others were enlightened. This kind of situation was actually quite common during the cultivation of Practitioners. For instance, while meditating, a mage made a mistake, and the transformation of ice elements into magic power fails, it would erode their bodies as if they were afflicted with cold poison, and they could even completely freeze over. Battle qi cultivators such as martial artists, knights, and swordsmen would eat the flesh of magic beasts or drink magic potions. But if they failed to digest the tremendous magic power in it, they would also suffer from backlash. This phenomenon was not only present among human cultivators but was even more common all throughout nature.
If mermen who lived their lives in the ocean went into the desert during the day, their skin would dry up, their spirits would become listless, and other problems would also occur. This was because, during the day, the desert would be filled with fire, light, and other elements. Being immersed in such an environment, the mermen would inevitably absorb the fire and light elements. Although these elements were not actively absorbed, magic power would still form on their skin. This magic power would conflict with the water element magic power formed within the mermen, causing dry, cracked skin and mental exhaustion.
In the north, a lush parasol tree was suddenly faced with a blizzard. After the blizzard, all of the parasol tree’s leaves would fall off, leaving only bare branches and frostbite in many places. This was magic power corrosion caused by the sudden increase of ice elements.
Nature counters this by having many methods to resist magic power corrosion. For example, a pine tree in the snow could keep its wood-type magic power stable in an environment of abundant ice elements. Another example were the rhinos of the savanna. To resist the scorching sun, they often roll in the mud to construct an armor of mud. At the same time, the armor also shields it against mosquito bites. The creation of a layer of earth-type magic power would replace the skin in the war of attrition to defend against the corrosive magic power of the outside world.
“Wait a minute. Following Lady Zi Di’s explanation, isn’t this goat meat a great thing? This meat looks ordinary but actually contains magic power and so it can be regarded as magic beast meat. Magic beast meat is an expensive cultivation resource!” said Lan Zao, his voice reaching a whisper toward the end. As a grassroots Bronze, he was very conscious of cultivation resources.
Indeed, the process of battle qi cultivation had a great demand for magic beast meat. For instance, those who cultivated fire battle qi usually had to eat fire attribute magic beast meat. On the one hand, magic beast meat was full of nutrients, and eating it in the long-term would enhance the cultivator’s vitality. On the other hand, the magic beast meat contained fire attribute magic power.
After a battle qi cultivator ate it, the magic power in the food would seep into the cultivator’s body. If ignored, this foreign magic power could cause great harm. However, if the cultivator used a fire-type battle qi art, they could rapidly absorb and transform this magic power, not only removing the hidden danger but, more importantly, increasing their own battle qi.
Cang Xu nodded slightly. “What you have said is indeed a possibility. The difference between magic beast meat and ordinary meat lies in whether it contains magic power. Compared to normal magic beast meat, the magic power accumulated in the goat meat is quite unusual. When the temperature is very low, the magic power is stable and reined in, lurking deep within their bodies.
“And when the temperature rises to a certain degree, the magic power would reveal its chaotic nature, breaking out and posing a fatal threat to those who ate it. If one had an outstanding ice-type battle qi art that is capable of withstanding and transforming this ice-type magic power, then this goat meat would be a valuable magic beast meat for those who cultivate it.”
“However…there shouldn’t be many of these people,” said Zhen Jin with a ruminating face.
A battle qi art was a method of coordinating, balancing, and circulating magic power in the body as battle qi. There were many battle qi arts, of varying quality. An outstanding battle qi art not only needed a creator of great talent, but also for the successive generations to perfect it. The battle qi arts that stood at the apex and were recognized as such were extremely few in number, so few one could count them on their fingers. For example, Emperor Sheng Ming’s Sacred Brightness Battle Qi, Duke Bing Hou’s Polar Blizzard Battle Qi, and Saber Sage Wan Ri’s Blazing Flame Battle Qi.
The better a battle qi art was, the more efficiently it could absorb and transform the magic power in magic beast meat. Under normal circumstances, the magic power in magic beast meat was relatively stable. After being processed, the magic power would not disperse quickly, and it could be easily perceived, absorbed, and transformed.
But this goat meat was clearly not normal. The goats were not born of nature. The abundance of magic power accumulated within their bodies far exceeded their life level. The structure of the goat flocks were also strange, with the vast majority being ordinary beasts and only a few being Bronze beasts.
Looking further, once the magic power in the goat meat burst out, it was capable of immobilizing Bronzes like Lan Zao and Huang Zao. But when it was quiet and lurking, whether it was Zhen Jin, Zi Di, Lan Zao, or anyone else, none of them could sense it. These two characteristics of the magic structure had raised the requirements of the ice-type battle qi arts by large margin.