Chapter 48: Surviving Alone
The scorching sunlight seemed like a multitude of arrows shooting the entire desert.
Zhen Jin walked under the sun and felt like a fish on a hot grill. In order to avoid being cooked alive, he could only walk on the backside of the sand dunes as much as possible, even so, after walking for a bit, he felt his stamina being severely consumed.
At the same time, he felt faintly hungry.
Zhen Jin licked his dry lips and felt it was difficult to swallow and spit.
A dry mouth and tongue.
Zhen Jin was as silent as iron as he slowed down his wandering and calculated the time.
Because he had lost consciousness, he did not know how long it had been.
“Still, it has at least been one night and half a day and I have had nothing to eat or drink during that time. Feeling hungry and thirsty is very normal”
Under normal circumstances, humans who did not eat anything for a long time were certain to be hungry and thirsty. To say nothing of Zhen Jin whose experience and tribulation with the terrifying sandstorm that made him use all of his stamina and energy, causing him to struggle between life and death, and even violently attacked his mind.
“The only food I have right now is this snake.” Zhen Jin glanced at the dead snake on his shoulder and silently reflected over his own situation.
The circumstances of survival in the wild were grim on this fiendish island.
Before in the rainforest and forest, Zhen Jin had met with danger several times. Now in the middle of a desert, a place barren of resources, the plentiful resources of the forests in comparison seemed like heaven.
“Fortunately during that time, I had consulted with Cang Xu about the various ways of desert survival in case this happened.”
Because the teleportation mechanism was not at all understood, Zhen Jin had already planned for the possibility that he too could be sent to the desert.
For this reason, he had made earlier preparations.
“The best thing to do is to try to find an oasis so I can immediately replenish food and water.”
“It is also good to run across cactuses.”
“But I only want specific cactuses. According to what Cang Xu said, many cactuses cannot be eaten because they contain poison. Besides, digging up cactuses will waste a lot of stamina and body moisture. Blindly doing this will cause more loss than gain.”
In the past, the exploration team also got teleported and languished in the desert. They mainly relied on the food and water they carried on them.
Zhen Jin was not unprepared in this respect.
Every day he carried a measure of food and water on his body, even when sleeping at the camp at night, he had the important resources for survival like food, water, and weapons at his side.
As far as Zhen Jin, the leader of the exploration team, was concerned the teleportation was silent and irresistible.
Things connected to the lifeforms or goods surrounding the lifeforms would also be teleported.
Therefore, back when the exploration team was teleported to the desert, things like clothes and equipment were not left behind.
In this teleportation, the camp that Zhen Jin ordered built was also teleported.
But no one could have foreseen that after being teleported, a sandstorm would envelop and devastate them.
After Zhen Jin woke up back then, his mind was fully focused on wanting to save the others, so he casually grabbed his blade and made his way out of the tent.
As a result, the food, water, and equipment in the tent were buried in the sand.
Zhen Jin did not have time to put on his leather armour and the only thing he now had was the weapon made from the limbs of the blade-legged spider.
“This is worth rejoicing, even though I was unconscious, I never let go of my weapon. At least I did not fall into the predicament of being unarmed and defenceless again.”
“But I basically have no food or water. I ought to replenish these. Without them, I cannot survive.”
An invisible pressure silently accumulated in the youngster’s heart.
And very quickly, this pressure grew stronger increasingly, as if his heart was shouldering an ever-heavier boulder.
Zhen Jin’s breathing grew more and more brief.
This was not only because of the desert’s scorching air but also because of his constantly declining stamina.
“Surviving alone is a completely different situation than before.” The youngster’s heart deeply sighed.
He couldn’t help but slowly come to a stop in the shadow of a sand dune, he put his both hands on his knees and gave himself a chance to breathe.
How long has it been?
Surviving alone had already made him feel that time was passing slowly and couldn’t help be tense all throughout.
A sense of loneliness firmly wrapped around him.
There was no one to depend on, no one to count on, he could only rely on himself.
He seemed to be the only one left in the world, as if all of humanity became extinct.
He had to face all dangers and challenges alone.
“Perhaps I will die here and my flesh will be gnawed on by predators with only my white bones remaining in this desolate desert, suffering under the scorching sun during the day and frigid chills in the nights, until they too are worn into dust by the sands and winds and vanish completely from the face of this vast indifferent world.”
Such other similar thoughts constantly appeared in Zhen Jin’s mind.
Regardless of how he tried to hamper them, he couldn’t stop it.
A trace of panic spread through his heart and rapidly expanded.
Zhen Jin gritted his teeth and revealed a pained smile.
Cang Xu had once warned him: according to his research, humans are social creatures whose most primal instincts sought the accompaniment of others.
If a human had to survive alone, especially when facing the immense pressure of having to survive in the wilderness, it was easy for them to become nervous and panic-stricken. If such emotions were left unchecked, they would become a fatal killer. Even if one possessed adequate food and water along with a safe environment, they would be unable to control their emotions and suffer from nervous breakdowns, hallucinations, and become insane.
Now that the youngster personally experienced this, he recalled Cang Xu’s theory and profoundly understood it.
“Keep calm, keep calm, do not panic.”
Zhen Jin tried to force himself to keep calm but didn’t succeed.
“O' God, mine emperor, thou who possesses the name Sheng Ming. Thine believer prays to thou here and asks thou to bestow mine lowly self the power of the spirit so that I will no longer be weak and confused. Let me courageously follow the road thou shows in order to manifest thine name.”
He once again prayed to the gods, but the expected happened—the god did not respond.
He sat down in the sand.
He gazed into the vast desert and looked at the monotonous dry yellow span outwards until it finally merged with the blue sky.
The scorching sunlight caused the air to warp queerly.
The youngster suddenly felt that the desert which seemed calm was actually incurably mad. Sitting here, sooner or later, he would be melted and driven insane!
“Zhen Jin, ah, Zhen Jin, how have you fallen into this situation?”
“How have you fallen to this degree?”
“You are the sole heir to the Bai Zhen Clan, you are Zi Di’s fiancée, why are you here right now?”
The youngster questioned himself angrily.
The situation was so terrible that he couldn’t even protect himself.
But what could he do about it?
Faced with this, he could only blame himself, he could only be silent.
A long time later.
The silent youngster spat out a foul breath and soliloquized: “Indeed, it can’t get any worse than this, could it?”
Then, he laughed bitterly.
In fact, he actually felt strange, that he could still laugh under such circumstances.
Along with his laughter, the anger and panic in his heart dissipated a little with a feeling of sorrow, helplessness, and self-mockery replacing it.
Then, miraculously, the youngster burdened with complex emotions, slowly became calm.
Zhen Jin calmly surveyed his surroundings and soon realized he had made a huge mistake.
Previously, he had paid too much attention concerning himself with food and water, so he had chosen a random direction to travel, in this desert, this meant that he was destroying himself.
Perhaps, he was too nervous at the time to the extent that his emotions had flooded his brain and he was forced to act on his body’s instincts.
“I should look for the correct direction and always walk in a straight direction.”
“Without a direction, my path in this desert might actually be a giant circle, that is worse than spinning in place.”
It was noon now so the moon and stars of night could not give directions.
But Zhen Jin had another method that he had asked Cang Xu about which could show the way.
First, a stick has to be stuck into the ground and the top of the stick’s shadow was to be marked into the ground. After roughly ten minutes, the deviation of the stick’s shadow was to be marked.
After connecting the two points to form a line, a perpendicular line drawn from the middle of this line would be the north-south line.1
As for which end pointed north and which pointed south, it all depended on where the sun was.
From where the sun was, the bottom of the line indicated south and the other end pointed north.2
Zhen Jin did not know the map of this island, but he clearly remembered that when the exploration team was teleported into the desert previously, Cang Xu had decided to go south.
So, without anything else as the basis to choose, he chose to gamble and decided to go south.
As he set out again, Zhen Jin tried his best to avoid the sunlight and walked on the backside of the sand dunes.
His speed fell again as he wanted to use his stamina sparingly to try and conserve it.
Many times, he actively stopped to rest.
“I must save my stamina.”
“Trekking through the desert during the day will use up a great deal of stamina. More crucially is that my body will sweat and use up a large quantity of water.”
“The more I sweat, the closer I am to death.”
All of this valuable knowledge had been communicated between Zhen Jin and Cang Xu.
Zhen Jin kept calm, the loneliness and the pressure to survive stimulated him, making his mind alerter and clear-headed.
Once again, he recalled an interaction he had with Huang Zao and what the other party had said.
“At that time, I was fresh on the boat and still a novice. Starting out was very hard. All day I worked on the deck, the workload was massive and I quickly got sunburns. In the beginning, it was just an itch. The kind that people couldn’t help but scratch. Later on, the skin would sting and form tight groups of blisters. I began to have a low fever and had a befuddled mind all day long and I could only helplessly lie in my hammock each day. Then my low fever became a high fever and I began to smell bad, the other sailors did not dare approach me. Someone even suggested to the captain that I be thrown overboard because they believed that I had a plague that would infect the others.”
“Fortunately, my older brother got herbal medicine from island aboriginals when the ship was docked Allegedly, this herbal medicine was made from sea mud and local tree leaves. After smearing it, I felt refreshed, which was very miraculous.”
“Finally, my fever came down. From that point on, I did not dare underestimate even the more ordinary of sunlight. I also completely respected the ancient medicines.”
As Zhen Jin thought of this, he took off his outermost clothes and decided to wrap them around his head.
He was glad to find that his long sleeved trousers blocked a lot of sunlight.
“Although I far surpass Huang Zao in strength and vitality, although this is not the Phoenix Desert, and although getting sunburnt is extremely unlikely, by doing this, I can preserve the moisture in my body as much as possible.