Chapter 77: Life Still Goes On
CHAPTER STATUS: UNEDITED
“Don't come, don’t come any closer!”
Zi Di’s sorry figure ran away.
Zhen Jin was closely chasing the girl.
“So hungry, I am so hungry!” Zhen Jin had transformed into a complete silver level spear scorpion; he had been overwhelmed by hunger and his mind only thought of eating.
Zi Di finally tripped on a rock and fell to the ground.
Zhen Jin pounced onto her and ruthlessly attacked her with his large pincers and sharp tail.
Zi Di was instantly dismembered, her red blood splashed onto the ground and dyed Zhen Jin’s vision crimson.
At that moment, Zhen Jin suddenly opened his eyes.
He looked at the black night sky.
He gasped and filled his lungs with cold air, his eyes gradually dilated to a normal size as his mood calmed.
He had a nightmare.
In that nightmare, he transformed into a spear scorpion, attacked Zi Di, and considered the girl food to allay his hunger.
Zhen Jin quietly sat up.
Cold sweat covered his entire body.
Looking around, he saw Zi Di sleeping peacefully next to him with Bai Ya and Lan Zao lying down nearby.
After hearing Cang Xu’s words, Zhen Jin knocked out Lan Zao and found a place for him to lie.
As for Cang Xu, he was keeping watch for the night.
The bonfire was still burning, the flame was only half as strong as before, but it still provided a steady stream of warmth.
As the flames shined upon Zhen Jin’s face, the young knight’s expression was dark and uncertain.
“Why did I have such a nightmare?”
“Is it because I am constantly concerned and scared of the magic crystal in my heart?”
It was a normal psychological reaction.
Imagine for a moment, if an ordinary human suddenly sprouted horns, grew a tail, or swelled with tumors, would that not cause worry and fear?
Humans do not have a magic core, yet Zhen Jin had grown one.
In addition, the magic core was very mysterious, strange, and powerful, it allowed Zhen Jin to transform into a monster and absorb the bloodline of lifeforms.
“I cannot use battle qi, if I run into danger, I have no choice but to use it.”
“Sigh……from now on I have to use it as little as possible.”
“Who knows if there will be serious consequences?”
Zhen Jin subconsciously caressed his stomach.
He was afraid that if he misused the magic core, he would transform into a beast one day and lose his human form.
Zhen Jin felt: the magic crystal was already pushing him to slaughter regular people and sacrifice innocents to get more strength and authority.
“On another front, I am also scared of turning into Lan Zao.” Zhen Jin glanced into the distance at Lan Zao.
He understood Lan Zao from the bottom of his heart.
In addition, the understanding was very deep.
Because Zhen Jin was once faced with the same choice as Lan Zao.
Hunger drove men insane, hunger made Zhen Jin turn into a complete spear scorpion to eat granite, hunger made Zi Di think that cooled lava looked like chocolate bread, and hunger made Cang Xu believe that he could eat sand. They killed and ate anything they could, treating rat and lizard meat as a supreme delicacy.
Apart from that understanding, Zhen Jin’s heart also had fear and post-traumatic stress.
“If I treated Bai Ya as food, would I end up like how Lan Zao is now?”
“Although Bai Ya is not my younger brother, I would be tortured by the goodness, morality, and knightly honor in my heart.”
“I would be like Lan Zao, alive but good as dead!”
Zhen Jin was in a very serious mood.
Because he naturally also thought: “In the future, would I turn into such a person?
When he returned to the cave to carry out Bai Ya, the young knight told himself——I am not depraved.
However, he understood he had many ideas. Those ideas were selfish, evil, shameless, and despicable, things that Zhen Jin was nearly unable to face in retrospect.
Outside of understanding, fear, and seriousness, Zhen Jin also felt a spontaneous twang of pity for Lan Zao.
“In order to survive, he became a beast.”
“He killed his younger brother.”
“Afterwards he made his way back to this oasis. The arrangement is fate playing and teasing him.”
“Lan Zao probably started to feel regret when he found the oasis, perhaps if he persevered more, Huang Zao would have not died.”
“Extreme regret made him incapable of believing that Huang Zao was dead, and he did everything in his power to deny the fact that he murdered his younger brother.”
“Even though his vision was fine, he was still convinced that Huang Zao was still alive and had hope of being saved.”
“He did his utmost to deceive himself. He sank into a delusion for it was the only way he could escape the pangs of his conscience and the torment of his morality.”
“The oasis is real, yet he is still stuck in his own personal mirage.”
“In the end it is just a fantasy.”
“Our appearance and attitude destroyed the bubbles of fantasy; thus ruthless reality and the truth now appear before Lan Zao once more.”
“This time, he could not avoid it and could no longer deceive himself.”
“Just like Cang Xu said, those surviving in the desert will crumble because of mirages. It is the same for Lan Zao, but even worse.
To be honest, if Zhen Jin did not have that life and death crisis, he too would look down upon, loathe, and detest Lan Zao, with a high possibility that he would carry out Zi Di’s proposal.
But after his personal experiences, the young knight’s body and mind greatly changed.
“He is our companion and I once said that I would do my best to save everyone, therefore I will help him.” This was what Zhen Jin decided at the bonfire when faced with the two completely different proposals of Cang Xu and Zi Di.
After that, he got up and carried half a cup of coconut water and roasted meat over to Lan Zao.
Lan Zao did not respond even a little as he remained staring at Huang Zao’s corpse.
In the end, Zhen Jin could only knock Lan Zao out.
Why would anyone decide to help Lan Zao?
Zhen Jin also felt strange at the time.
But now he understood a little: “Perhaps it is what my heart desires. I hope that if I end up like Lan Zao one day, someone will still help me.” However, Zhen Jin also understood that he could do nothing to help Lan Zao.
Lan Zao’s problem was not an external one, rather it rested in his heart.
Even Zhen Jin had his own doubts as he asked himself——should anyone help a person like Lan Zao.
Human society has ethics and morality, so the moral and ethical standards of templar knights must be above the masses. Lan Zao’s conduct is undoubtedly the opposite of these ethics and morals.
“Was helping Lan Zao right or wrong?”
“Did I help him because I saw him in myself?”
“Am I trying to excuse my possible depravity?”
At that moment, as he gazed into the flames, Zhen Jin felt he was hesitating and wavering.
He tentatively controlled the magic crystal and had become very powerful. He had enough food and water to free himself of that crisis.
But the young knight still felt weak.
He asked himself in his heart.
“When all is said and done, what kind of person am I?”
“I am afraid of death; can I really continue to uphold the knightly spirit and shoulder the responsibility of establishing my clan?”
“Am I a selfish person?”
“If I was in Lan Zao’s position, what would I have chosen?”
“If I did not choose to eat, I would have died with no chance of reaching the oasis. If I chose to eat, I would still die.”
“In the end, which is the right choice?”
Zhen Jin bravely faced himself, he did not use the magic core to excuse his actions.
Zhen Jin had no answers to his questions.
Each time he reflected, and every time he confronted these questions, he tortured his heart, he would lose part of his once strong self-confidence.
Zhen Jin’s heart understood when he saved Bai Ya, he told himself he was not depraved. This was actually a subconscious denial. Who does not want to be brave? Who does not want to be radiant? Who does not want to be upright and frank, with no moral deficiencies?
“However, Cang Xu……indeed has an argument.”
Zhen Jin truly reflected.
This reflection forced him to confront the deepest, darkest, and ugliest parts of human nature, it was undoubtedly extremely painful for him.
Losing his confidence made Zhen Jin sink into deep self-doubt.
Late into the night, the young knight got up and left the fire to kneel on the ground.
He lowered his head, put a hand over his heart, turned his body towards the Shen Ming Continent, and began to confess.
“God, Emperor Shen Ming, my great master. Thine gaze is like a light on the world that causes all shadows to flee. Now, thy believer, thy knight confesses to thee because his spirit is mired in a swamp. I seek the illumination of thy spirit to banish the shadows of my corruption, my hideousness, my filth. I beseech thee to pardon my sinful thoughts……”
The long confession concluded.
The soft night wind brushed the young knight’s ears.
It was as Zhen Jin expected——his god did not respond.
The youngster sighed with disappointment and frustration.
Zi Di was sound asleep.
Bai Ya was lying in the underbrush and Lan Zao was curled up on the ground like a shrimp.
The two individuals’ brows were tightly wrinkled and had a painful expression——both of them were struggling.
Time passed, and the night gradually waned as the sun rose and casted its torrid light down.
Just like countless previous days and nights, nature continued to revolve under its unchanging laws.
Any distress, sadness, suffering, bewilderment, or any other emotion in the vastness of nature seemed pretentious.
Heaven and Earth were great but being alive was the greatest.
Before wealth, power, love, or honor, food and water must come first.
Regardless of how painful, perplexing, or sad it was, life still goes on.