Chapter 45: An Unexpected Gain
Zhen Jin planned to have the exploration team rest and reorganize for two days.
Building the camp had consumed a lot of strength, if it wasn’t used well, it would be squandered. The surroundings had been purged and the flying squirrels had been hunted, now that nothing threatened them, they were quite safe.
The flying squirrel carcasses still needed to be processed.
The exploration team also needed to continue to train their archery skills.
In addition to this, the last hunt had used up many arrows as well as a few bows, they needed to be replenished.
The hunt was a great success and allowed the exploration team to improve their situation greatly.
Currently, Zhen Jin already had enough time to create a sufficient amount of better long-range weaponry.
But after Zhen Jin thought it through, he gave up on this idea.
The next day.
Cang Xu met with Zhen Jin: “Lord Zhen Jin, good news, we have a new discovery.”
“Oh?” Zhen Jin knew that Cang Xu had been researching the iron level squirrel’s corpse. “Did you find a magic crystal in it?”
Cang Xu smiled and shook his head: “There was no magic crystal within the body of the iron squirrel, its internal magic power is also utterly chaotic. Not long after its death, its magic power had completely dissipated.”
Zhen Jin muttered in his heart: “The iron level squirrel does not have a magic crystal, but there is actually something resembling one in me.”
Cang Xu didn’t maintain suspense as he frankly spoke: “It is as such my lord. I cut open the iron level squirrel’s stomach and found that before it died it had just stuffed itself with food. Thus, there was still a lot of undigested food inside its stomach. It included meat, bones, birds, fruits, plants, and more. Among these, I found a kind of potato.”
Zhen Jin’s eyes flashed slightly: “It seems that these flying squirrels are omnivores. We can try to dig up these potatoes.”
Cang Xu nodded: “My lord, not only are there potatoes, I speculate that there is a great amount of food stockpiled at the flying squirrel group’s nest.”
“How have you determined this?” Zhen Jin asked.
“From prior dissection as well as researching these squirrel carcasses, I have found that the digestive capabilities of these squirrels are very strong, their gastric fluids can even lightly corrode swords. Generally speaking, when a life form with this kind of strong digestive capability is hungry, the gastric acid secreted will make things unbearable for them. In order to resist this feeling of starvation, they will temporarily devour indigestible things like rocks and the like. But these flying squirrels don’t have anything similar inside their stomach. This shows at once that they have plenty of food.”
“We have only probed our surroundings. I think these flying squirrels are not only omnivores, they also possess the food storing characteristics of normal squirrels. Usually, they would forage and collect food, and when they get hungry, they would quickly eat the food to prevent their community from being driven crazy by hunger.”
“Very good.” Zhen Jin patted Cang Xu’s shoulder as he expressed his admiration. “I will have Lan Zao handle this matter.”
“My lord, I ask that you let me follow him. I am very interested in the structure of the flying squirrel’s nest.” Cang Xu timely raised a minor request.
“You can.” Zhen Jin responded without hesitation.
Although it would require a lot more manpower to protect the old scholar, ever since Zhen Jin had met with Cang Xu, the old scholar had repeatedly assisted him. As long as the situation allowed it, Zhen Jin did not mind satisfying the old scholar’s thirst for knowledge.
When Cang Xu returned to camp, he returned satisfied.
Their harvest of supplies also pleasantly surprised Zhen Jin.
It was just as Cang Xu guessed, the flying squirrel nest really did have food stored.
Moreover, the food reserve was quite large. When the exploration team members searched it, many of them sighed: “These flying squirrels live better than us!”
Even if humans couldn’t eat the majority of the food, the amount of potatoes and fruits came up to about a third of the flying squirrel meat they had and greatly replenished the exploration team’s food.
Zi Di also gained something new.
By using the flying squirrel’s gastric fluid, Zi Di made many corrosive potions. Iron swords that touched this potion would change beyond recognition in a few breaths. As long as there were enough potions, a huge hole could be corroded into the soil in a few short breaths.
If it was paired up with a fog potion, it could make a strong corrosive fog. If ordinary people stayed and breathed in it, their lungs would suffer necrosis.1
Although the squirrel hunt was a big success, Zi Di had used up all of her combustion potions.
These corrosive potions replaced them and gave the exploration team another method of attacking enemies.
Of course, regardless of whether it was the combustion potions or the current corrosive potions, neither were magic potions, they only purified and strengthened the original characteristics of the materials.
The effects of magic potions were even more outstanding. But on this island, low level magic potions were not effective.
Zhen Jin made no progress in his field.
He could only abandon his original train of thought and change to another direction.
He began to ponder: how did the mysterious crystal core in his heart come about?
“Was it due to that potion?” Zhen Jin believed this was the most possible answer.
If not, why were both transformations connected to the monkey bear?
Night fell, Zhen Jin called Zi Di again to inquire about their situation.
Zhen Jin did not gain anything new from Zi Di’s reply.
Zhen Jin was caught up in muttering to himself: “If Zi Di did something by accident when she was treating me, it might have formed this crystal core. In that case, using potions could possibly stimulate the crystal core again and produce a transformation.”
“What happened? Does your lordship still feel a hidden danger anywhere? Zi Di inquired.
“It's nothing, I only want to understand.” Zhen Jin smiled and consoled Zi Di. “It's getting late and we will be departing tomorrow. You should go back and rest well.”
Zi Di nodded, her eyes flickering with radiance: “Lord Zhen Jin, with you here, I am certain that we can leave this island.”
Zhen Jin nodded: “Not only must we leave this island, but we also need to win over the people’s hearts, gather some manpower, and form a preliminary team. If not, when we arrive at White Sands city, it will be hard to compete against the other two candidates in the future city lord competition with just us two. Don’t blame yourself Zi Di, you have actually done really well.”
Zi Di was stunned and then bitterly laughed: “My lord, your vision is indeed sharp. To tell the truth, I detest the environment here. This place is not amicable to magicians. I can only assist you with potions. However, the current condition is very crude. If there were some alchemy tools, I believe I could have made a poison that directly targeted the flying squirrels on time.”
Zhen Jin sighed: “This is a fact. We really are impoverished on this dangerous island. We are seeking survival and anything can happen. We can only do our best and only our best. Good night.”
“Good night.” Zi Di left.
Zhen Jin still didn’t tell Zi Di the truth.
On one hand, Zhen Jin didn’t want Zi Di to bear even more worries, right now she was blaming herself incessantly. Although their time together was short, Zhen Jin had found that this purple eyed girl’s heart had pride. With regards to this kind of person, Zhen Jin only wanted to console them and did not want to lash out. It was because this kind of person didn’t need external pressure, they could work energetically on their own.
On the other hand, Zhen Jin also knew the strength of Zi Di’s potions. Even if he revealed the truth, Zi Di did not have the ability to solve his problem.
Since he had hidden it from Zi Di the first time, Zhen Jin did not mind hiding it a second time.
The mysterious crystal core produced a transformation ability, it seemed that Zhen Jin had a trump card that could help him cope with critical situations and powerful enemies. But at the same time, it was also a tremendous hidden danger.
“Do these transformations have any harmful effects? How can the human heart have a crystal core. Will the body and other tissue reject this kind of foreign organ?”
“What kind of harm will recklessly transforming do to my body? Will it cripple my body or mix up my bloodline?”
“I cannot sense the crystal core nor can I control the transformations. Could it be that the crystal core was recently grown and hasn't completely harmonized with my body yet?”
“How many times can I transform before would it reduce me to a beast and cause me to lose all my humanity?”
This not only concerned his body and his bloodline, but also the entire exploration team.
Zhen Jin knew the reasons why he could lead these people. The first was because he was strong enough and the second was because of his status.
He was a noble, more importantly, he was a templar knight.
Comparing them, the latter status could inspire the will of the people more than the former.
If the people discovered Zhen Jin’s transformations, they would view him as a freak and his advantageous status would be greatly impaired.
Although the squirrel hunt was successful, Zhen Jin knew this success only reigned the horse from the edge of the precipice and saved the exploration team from the brink of disaster, nothing more.2
The upcoming journey was sure to run across untold dangers and difficulties.
Whether or not the exploration team could cope with these trials and tribulations was still difficult to say.
Zhen Jin did not wish for the morale of this team to be unstable.
Therefore, he kept the secret in his heart and prevented the possibility of it spreading.
The forest late at night was not tranquil.
Beasts were often heard howling, these noises were bizarre, indeed some were howling, some were whimpering, and some seemed to be coughing.
Zhen Jin knew that he needed to rest well, after all, they would be leaving at dawn tomorrow.
However, as he was laying on his bed, he found it momentarily hard to sleep.
He then simply summarised up the results of his pondering these days.
“Currently, it seems there are three major possibilities as to why my body transformed. The first one is that the pressure of being on the verge of life and death triggered an instinctual reaction from the crystal core in my heart. The second is that it is due to the intense emotions I produced under immense pressure. The third is that it is due to the presence of the potion in my blood. It is possible that the crystal core in my heart was created from the potion, although my two transformations haven’t absorbed any external potions, perhaps there is still some of the potion remaining inside my body.”
Zhen Jin faintly sighed.
Although he had thought of many possibilities, his current situation did not allow him to rashly attempt any of them.
On the one hand, he had no guarantee of safety.
On the other hand, he shouldered responsibility and couldn’t easily walk into danger. He wanted to lead the exploration team, protect his fiancée, and revitalize the Bai Zhen Clan.
He had a lot of important business to do.
“Besides, after transforming, the crystal core will consume a large quantity of magic power. In hindsight, it makes me feel intensely empty and exhausted.”
Full of thoughts, Zhen Jin dizzily fell asleep.
Even after falling asleep, the youngster’s brows were still creased as if he were strenuously pondering in his dream.
After an unknown amount of time, the entire tent suddenly collapsed with a bang.
Zhen Jin immediately woke up with a start.
Although he was sleeping in camp, he still maintained villiance, thus he responded quickly.
“How could the tent suddenly collapse, what happened‽” Zhen Jin picked up the blade-spider sword at his side and violently swung it.
The sharp sword easily cut through the collapsed tent and allowed Zhen Jin to observe everything outside.
At that moment, his body and mind shook, he looked horrified.