Chapter 39: Lumbering
Zhen Jin issued several orders in a row, whether it was Huang Zao, Lan Zao, Bai Ya, Cang Xu, or some others, they respectfully obeyed immediately.
However, there were still exploration team members around Zhen Jin who still had uncertainty in their gazes.
Zhen Jin shouted: “Now, if you have a different opinion, put it forth immediately! A Templar knight will never punish those who speak out the words in their hearts.”
No one spoke, but there were a few who opened their mouths before hesitating.
Zhen Jin’s face darkened.
He knew he hadn’t established enough prestige as a leader yet.
Cang Xu spoke at the right moment: “My lord, your decision is undoubtedly wise. Even if the flying squirrel chieftains can produce a deadly electric shock, they are still very rare. Your lordship’s arrows and throwing daggers have always hit with unfailing accuracy.”1
“In the past, we have encountered many beast groups, excluding the goat flock, this flying squirrel group is the weakest. If we give up, I’m afraid we will not have such good luck as to encounter a more suitable group than this flying squirrel community.”
“This is my humble suggestion: we spend time to strategize. Proper tactics can help us easily surmount these stupid flying squirrels. After all, human minds are far more intelligent than wild beasts.”
“Very good.” Zhen Jin nodded, showing his praise. “Scholar Cang Xu, your idea is very pertinent. In fact, we only need to get enough food. We can attract the flying squirrels in batches and control the scale of the fight. As long as we can hunt enough food, we need not risk our lives against a flying squirrel chieftain.”
Zhen Jin's words were actually quite optimistic.
Beasts’ behaviours were hard to predict, especially since everyone was unfamiliar with these flying squirrels due to only having brief contact with them. On this island, other creatures similar to these flying squirrels all had traces of artificiality and aren’t really natural things. Therefore their behaviours, characteristics, and so on were really hard to predict.
Zhen Jin and Cang Xu both knew this truth.
However, after this meticulously delivered dialogue, everyone no longer wavered like before, the gazes of a few became steady once more, and morale had risen to a certain extent.
Zhen Jin hadn’t established his prestige and Cang Xu had feeble strength, however, with their combined influence they could mobilize the exploration team’s zeal.
Zhen Jin became increasingly more satisfied with Cang Xu.
His heart inwardly evaluated: “Cang Xu understands how to coordinate with me, perhaps he is even more outstanding in this aspect than Zi Di.”
“Although Zi Di is a merchant alliance president, she is still too young and primarily focused her time and energy on her magic cultivation.”
“Although Cang Xu has no strength, he has still served nobility for half of his life. He has ample experience and has always assisted me in controlling the exploration team.”
After breakfast, everyone quickly mobilized.
This was a forest and there were trees as far as the eye could see.
Making short bows required the appropriate wood.
“We need two types of wood right now, one type to make the bow limb and for the other kind, we only need the bark to make the bowstring. Which ones to select, I do not know. I will need Bai Ya and Lord Cang Xu for that.” Huang Zao said as he looked at Cang Xu and Bai Ya.
The old scholar smiled: “Although this island is full of strange and bizarre mutated beasts, the trees and grasses are relatively normal. These kinds of trees are our objective.”
Bai Ya followed: “Senior Huang Zao, me and my father once cut down forest trees to make our own bows. Roughly looking at it, this kind of tree is the closest to the ones from my memories.”
Combining Bai Ya’s experience and Cang Xu’s knowledge, and Huang Zao hacking and inspecting the trees, the three people nailed down the two types of trees without a hitch.
Huang Zao then set out to chop down the trees.
After all, he was a bronze level warrior whose strength far exceeded that of normal people.
The spider-blade sword was extremely sharp, with one swing, a tree would slowly tilt to the side, before crashing down to the ground.
Bai Ya walked forward and used a blade to cut into the tree trunk and pried off a piece of tree bark in a skillful motion. The bark was dark green on the outside, but when Bai Ya flipped the tree bark over, he saw the tree bark’s internal layer.
The tree bark’s internal layer was a yellowish-green. Bai Ya touched it with his finger and felt it was smooth like satin.
He nodded slightly and evaluated: “The internal layer of this tree bark should make top-notch rope.”
The three chose another big tree.
This tree was much sturdier than the one they previously cut down.
Huang Zao took out the sharp blade that Zhen Jin let him and was just about to use it to cut it down.
Cang Xu stopped him: “Don’t use that kind of weapon, use an axe. This kind of sharp weapon can only exert its real strength when used by practitioners, regular people should better use axes.”
Huang Zao was willing to accept the advice and selected an axe to chop the tree.
Iron swords were likely to bend when used for logging. People would not do that except as a last resort.
The exploration team had quite a few axes. Their original purpose was to make gathering things like bananas, coconuts, and so on more convenient. Their secondary purpose was to cut open a path. If they found a steady source of food, having an accessible path would make things easy.
Huang Zao swung his thick arm and after a dozen chops, there was a large crack in the tree trunk.
“If I could use battle qi, it would only take one swing to chop down this damned tree!” Huang Zao grumbled his dissatisfaction with his performance.
Although bronze level battle qi could not be imbued to a weapon or cover the body, it could still greatly increase physical fitness temporarily after activation. Depending on their battle qi art, a cultivator’s strength, speed, endurance, and recovery ability would all be enhanced to varying degrees.
After a few more chops, the crack in the tree trunk reached the breaking point.
Huang Zao shifted his position and used his strength to push the tree trunk over.
Then, he cut up the tree trunk, took out the tree’s core, and cut out a plank.
Bai Ya and Cang Xu looked at the long plank with satisfaction.
Cang Xu got Huang Zao to bend the plank which revealed that the plank’s toughness was excellent.
The three looked happy as this matter had gone smoothly.
“Let us report back to Lord Zhen Jin, it's time to lead the others in cutting down these trees.” Cang Xu decided.
The three were near the camp, it had been cleared out and was relatively safe.
The three quickly returned to camp.
Zhen Jin was overseeing the camp and led the overall situation.
After learning about the achievement of the three, Zhen Jin thought for a while and asked Cang Xu: “How many people do you think you need and how long will it take to get enough wood?”
Cang Xu had clearly thought about this on the way back and immediately answered: “Of course, the more manpower the better, but my Lord, we have a few points we need to pay attention to currently.”
“First is the safety of the small logging teams. It is generally dangerous to do lumbering in the countryside, all cities provide patrols and escorts to protect the teams. Even if everyone in the exploration team is a fighter, their stamina is limited. Lumbering is a very physically demanding work that can exhaust men, therefore it would also decrease their combat strength. If real peril appears, the lumbering exploration team members would find it hard to resist.”
“Second is food, I suggest we reassign a few people to gather as much food as possible from the surroundings. It is likely that they won’t harvest much, but our foodstuffs have already reached a dangerous level, even if it is only a little bit of food, it is good nonetheless.”
“Thirdly, this wood can be utilized in more than one way. Not only can it be used to make short bows, we could also use it to set up more fortifications. On the way back, I talked with Bai Ya, he knows many hunters’ traps. We can arrange more and bigger traps. Although they can’t deal with people, these flying squirrels are just beasts. We possess a superior intellect.”
“Fourth, I believe this is the most crucial point as well as the most difficult to solve. Our time is really scarce, no matter if it is making bowstrings or bow limbs, both need to be dried. Making bowstrings and short bows will take at least one day. They will need to be dried for at least two days. The time left to set aside for training is very small.”
Like before, Cang Xu gave Zhen Jin many pertinent recommendations.
Zhen Jin nodded, Cang Xu was as reliable as ever.
Zhen Jin had always believed that: Cang Xu was the optimal candidate for an administrator, managing people was not simple. In this aspect, Zi Di did not have enough experience. As for Huang Zao and Lan Zao, their skill was in battle. According to Zhen Jin’s understanding, these brothers could not contribute as commanders. They could only lead the charge.
With regards to Cang Xu’s distress, Zhen Jin smiled and calmly fished out a potion.
In the next moment, Zhen Jin saw Cang Xu’s eyes light up.
Zhen Jin replied: “With regards to this point, I already have a solution.”
“There are two potions here, one to smear on the bow limbs and one type that can rapidly dry tree bark, one night is enough.”
“However, you must take note of the fact that these potions can only last one day, nothing more.”
These potions were all made by Zi Di at the last moment.
These potions were the main gain from Zhen Jin’s and Zi Di’s discussion about bows and crossbows.
Cang Xu was overjoyed at the unexpected good news: “Having these would be great.”2
There was not enough food, which made time very pivotal.
The potions seemed negligible, but in fact, it solved the biggest trouble faced by the exploration team.
Zhen Jin proceeded to assign Cang Xu to take responsibility for leading the team members in lumbering.
He then ordered Bai Ya and others to collect food with Huang Zao accompanying them to be in charge of their safety. On the other hand, it was also to purge the camp’s surroundings.3
Huang Zao had bronze level strength, even if he couldn’t activate his battle qi, his fighting strength surpassed an ordinary warrior.
“Thus, everyone is assigned to the lumbering team or the search team. The lumbering team doesn’t have anyone protecting them.” Cang Xu was worried.
Originally, the scale of the exploration was relatively large, but by the time Zhen Jin took over, there were only about a dozen left. After the poisoning event, combat power and physical strength slid down overall. A task that originally only needed one person now needed one and a half or even two. Thus, manpower seemed to be in very short supply.
“Be at ease, I will personally guard the lumbering team.” Zhen Jin said.
Cang Xu immediately relaxed, the safest place was certainly next to Zhen Jin!
He thought: Zhen Jin would guard Zi Di. Even if her strategic importance declined on this island, Zi Di was still a magician after all.
Cang Xu pondered before asking: “If so, then does my lord intend to order Lan Zao to protect the camp?”
Zhen Jin shook his head: “No, investigating the enemy’s position is more important. Lan Zao must still scout out the details of the flying squirrel community. He can move about alone. The strength of the others is lacking, they would only be a burden.”
Cang Xu frowned and reminded: “Lord Zi Di’s safety…”
Zhen Jin smiled: “I have spoken with her, she will stay in camp alone. She is also a pharmacist and has her own methods of protecting herself. If she encounters a difficult danger, the lumbering team is nearby and can reinforce her immediately.”
Cang Xu no longer had any objections; he was clear about the exploration team’s lack of manpower and Zhen Jin had done his utmost best with his arrangements.