Chapter 49: Hunger and Thirst Are Difficult to Endure
By afternoon the sunlight was not as scorching as noon, but it still was not something that humans could endure.
The youngster slowly climbed to the top of a short sand dune.
He climbed the back of the sand dune and clearly wanted to surmount it.
He had a sword with a wooden hilt and a strange blade that seemed crude. The youngster leaned on the sword like it was a crutch to help him walk forward.
The youngster had a weak stature and was not at all healthy.
He had a trouser and a long-sleeved shirt made from hemp, but he was barefoot.
He also had some clothes covering his head with his nose and mouth tightly covered, however, his eyes as well as the golden hair on his forehead were exposed.
This was Zhen Jin.
A few steps from the summit of the sand dune, the sunlight shined through and Zhen Jin couldn’t help but squint his eyes.
He intentionally left his eyes exposed because he knew he needed to maintain a good field of view, at the same time, during his journey, he also used his sense of hearing, smell, and touch to be on guard from the possibility of ambushing predators.
The sunlight was very harsh, Zhen Jin’s narrowed eyes still had some spots from the sunlight’s dazzle.
Zhen Jin did not immediately go over it, rather he stopped near the summit and waited until his eyes adjusted before crossing over.
After finding no dangers, Zhen Jin stood on the summit and gazed into the distance.
The desert in front of him was almost flat and did not resemble the undulating sand dune filled desert behind him.
The youngster could not help but sigh.
This immediately signified that he would have to trudge under the torture of the sun in the trek ahead.
The youngster also had beautiful eyes with a blue colour that resembled the sky after rain. The bewilderment in his eyes passed fleetingly and was replaced by perseverance.
“I must continue with haste.”
Zhen Jin said to himself, suddenly his blue iris lit up.
“There is food!”
His battle qi cultivation allowed his vitality to exceed ordinary humans, now he discovered a spider close by following the wind as it rolled down a sand dune.
Zhen Jin descended at once and effortlessly caught the spider.
This spider was only as big as an adult human’s two thumbs combined, its body was yellowish-brown like the sand but Zhen Jin’s keen sight still found it.
The spider had eight legs, currently all of them were curled up into its body to form a ball. By following the wind, the spider could easily roll across the sand dunes.
If it opened its legs to walk, it would have to expend a lot more effort.
In this barren desert, all life here had their respective and unique survival skills. The ability to save stamina was undoubtedly one of the most effective skills.
Zhen Jin pinched off the spider’s head and then shook his hand to clean off the sand.
Afterwards, he put the spider directly into his mouth, used his teeth to incessantly chew it into bits, rolled his Adam's apple, and completely swallowed it.
Pinching the head off the small spider was to detoxify it. Of course, this lifeform had a weak aura, the chasm between it and the bronze level was as great as the chasm between heaven and earth. Even if it were poisonous, it could not kill Zhen Jin who was at least silver level. But the youngster did not want to give his body another unexpected burden.
The spider didn’t taste good, it hadn’t been cooked or seasoned, but a strange odor filled Zhen Jin’s mouth, throat, and nose.
The spider’s legs tasted very dry and crispy, like dried branches.
Zhen Jin reflected, this dry and crispy texture was quite similar to other small insects.
This small spider was not the first one he had eaten as food.
Throughout the entire journey, he had sporadically encountered several other creatures.
There had been spiders, scorpions, and others that he did not know the name of. Zhen Jin would take off the spider’s head and a scorpion's tail before putting it in his belly.
Every time he ate one, he would feel like throwing up.
But he could not underestimate these small lifeforms.
He understood very well in his mind that these small lifeforms were an important source of food and water.
After walking in this desert for a long time, Zhen Jin already found that he never ran across any edible plants, however, he easily found some small organisms.
These small lifeforms had very little meat, but Zhen Jin valued them mostly because they gave him water.
Zhen Jin really cherished this food.
Although it was only a negligible amount of food, perhaps the accumulation bit by bit would be enough for him to successfully leave the desert.
“If I do not cherish this food, perhaps when I almost succeed in getting out of here in the future, I would end up collapsing in the desert .”
“I really hope I can run into a cactus.” Zhen Jin darkly sighed.
During his trek, he also came across some random plants.
But it was a pity that there were no cactuses.
These plants were also small and short and Zhen Jin also didn’t know which species he could and could not eat.
After carefully avoiding the sharp needles and leaves, he found that the plant’s roots deeply penetrated the desert’s depths.
This kind of root system could allow plants to draw a bit of moisture from underground, however, it also made it difficult if Zhen Jin wanted to dig it up.
After trying, Zhen Jin wisely gave up.
Even if he dug it up, the roots may not necessarily be edible. Zhen Jin did not know what kind of plant it was.
Many times, he needed to calculate his consumption and possible gains, patiently compare both outcomes, calmly reflect over them, and then make a decision.
It was very evident that recklessly excavating an unknown plant might actually be very risky!
In the end, Zhen Jin decided to abandon it.
This decision was actually very hard.
Everytime Zhen Jin left a desert plant, he fell in doubt—did I make a mistake? Maybe the gods intentionally arranged this to help me escape my predicament. But I chose to abandon it.
Zhen Jin felt he was an academy student that was doing an exam for his life and death, he was constantly answering questions, but no one gave him the right answers to those questions.
As time gradually passed, the sun slowly descended into the west.
When evening came, the sunlight seemed like an ill-mannered man who had just vented his anger through a violent skirmish. At this very moment, his curses and blows were weak and produced an illusion of tenderness.
The air temperature became tolerable but still remained incomparable dry. Zhen Jin started to consciously accelerate his walking pace.
During this time, he needed to walk as much as possible to make up for prior losses.
By the time the sun gradually fell below the horizon, the twilight of the sunset seemed to be more beautiful than anything one could imagine.1
But Zhen Jin was not in the mood to admire this beautiful scenery.
He only felt that the sun seemed to be warning—child, for now I will let you off. Tomorrow, I will continue to torment you!
At this time, the air temperature rapidly declined.
Zhen Jin began to feel how thin his clothes were as the chilness of the air made him shiver.
The youngster’s heart couldn’t refrain from sinking.
The temperature range of this desert was so great that it managed to exceed his previous expectations.
To him, this was also a trial.
“Although I can endure it now, but in the future, when my physical condition is worse than it is now, this change in temperature will become a deathly noose around my neck.”
This was a possible threat in the future, right now, what the youngster wanted to solve the most was his hunger and thirst.
His feeling of hunger and thirst was currently worse than when he regained consciousness.
There was no way the small lifeforms Zhen Jin found along the way were able to fill his belly. In fact, rather than food, they were more like something to console his heart.
Luckily, during the day, Zhen Jin did not run into any predators en route. But it was also a misfortune, this meant that he didn’t have the chance to gain a lot of food.
At the moment, there was still the special “scarf” around his neck, the body of the desert viper which he previously killed.
The youngster used his fingers to gently pet the snake’s scales “affectionately”.
A cold sensation was transmitted to his fingertips, but to his heart, this ice-cold feeling changed to warmth.
The thing in Zhen Jin’s hand was the only food he had left, it was also the thing he most painstakingly conserved.
On one hand, as long as he had it, Zhen Jin's heart had hope.
On the other hand, Zhen Jin had to guard against hazards. Recklessly eating too much food would also use up his body’s water.
As for the fact that the viper was poisonous, that was secondary.
The structure of the viper’s body indicated that its poison glands were in its head. Once the snake’s head was pinched off, there would be no more poison.
In light of Zhen Jin’s constitution, even if he got poisoned, he had nothing to fear from a common beast’s poison.
“But it's still best to light a fire and cook it. After all, this island is strange and dangerous, I cannot use common sense to judge it. Perhaps this kind of viper’s entire body is poisonous? If that is so, in my current situation, that is as good as actively putting the grim reaper’s sickle on my neck.”
As the sunlight completely disappeared, night fell.
“There goes one day.” Zhen Jin looked at the vast sky, once more at a loss as panic emerged from his heart.
Currently, he was in a dangerous and precarious situation.
During the day, the sunlight he detested and loathed actually gave him a good field of view. However, in the darkness, there would be many predators emerging.
Zhen Jin breathed deeply and tried to calm himself once more.
Afterwards, he joyously discovered that he had succeeded.
With the first tempering, his emotions had stabilized and appeared to have a qualitative leap.
He no longer needed to constantly pray.
Right now, he could only rely on himself to keep calm.
Of course, he was well aware of the results of his prayers. Regarding Emperor Sheng Ming, he no longer expected a response.
It was extremely cold late into the night, Zhen Jin began to exhale puffs of white vapour from his mouth and nose.
It was bone-chilling.
The pangs of hunger intensified, tormenting the youngster.
His stomach had long been protesting with gurgling noises.
But compared to hunger, thirst was felt even more.
Zhen Jin felt his throat fume, if there was a lake of water, he wished that he could immerse himself in it and drink free from worry.
There was not enough water.
Zhen Jin initially placed his hopes on some desert plants, but those hopes were shattered.
He didn’t even see the shadow of a cactus.
There was no moon tonight and stars filled the entire sky.
Zhen Jin raised his head and gazed at the starry sky, he felt that the starlight was heartless and indifferent as it seemed to be watching him walk the road towards his demise.
He strived to identify the celestial bodies for navigation so he could verify his direction, but he failed.
In this aspect, he didn’t even have cursory knowledge and was a complete layman.
Because of his proper strategies during the day, he still had some stamina left.
The youngster continued to trek alone in the desert under the starry night.
Unknowingly, sand dunes began to appear at Zhen Jin’s side.
“What is this?” Through his fuzzy field of view, Zhen Jin spotted the shadow of a beast entrenched in the middle of a sand dune.