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Chapter 12: The Legend of Arathi
“The taste is pretty bad. It’s strange and sour.” McQueen smacked his lips and gave his review. The taste was like yoghurt that had gone bad with a pungent sour smell that just made one want to pinch their nose.
“So how is it, my castellan, how does it feel, is there any reaction?” Bruce asked with a face of anticipation.
“Eh, feel, feeling, it feels disgusting.” McQueen recalled the taste and said while tilting his head.
In that instant, Bruce’s face darkened and he said, “My castellan, I wasn’t asking how the medicine taste but for reactions of your body.”
“What reactions? Mhmm, let me see.” McQueen nodded to signify that he understood. He stretched his body, ran a few steps and took a few steps.
Anxiously, Bruce and the veterans looked at McQueen dance around, run and do flips, oh no, he fell on the ground before he could complete the flip. “So?” Bruce asked urgently. While he knew of the blood awakening medicine, his knowledge was limited and did not know of the details of the effects.
“Does the pain from that fall count as an effect.” McQueen rubbed his butt and complained. While he was previously a shut-in, he could still do simple actions like flips. Who knew that his new body was worse than his previous one and could not even manage to do a flip. Pathetic.
McQueen decided in his mind that he would take time to train his body in the future. A strong body was essential to a good life.
“For the reactions, I can tell you that there is nothing happening as of now. Oh right, are you sure that the medicine that Garcia prepared is of sufficient quality? With his skills as a middle-class magician, I can’t help but suspect whether the medicine would work or not. Even if it does work, I still question the effectiveness.”
“There is no need for such worry, while Garcia is only a middle-class magician, he has researched medicine and potions for tens of years and is nothing short of an expert. The medicine union of the magician alliance visited Garcia in the past, hoping that he would join the union and teach in the Utopia Magic Academy. I have sufficient reason to believe that the medicine made by such a master of pharmacy would be, um, of sufficient quality.” Bruce defended Garcia enthusiastically and seemed to be trying to give himself confidence too. The success of this expedition depended on whether this blood awakening medicine worked.
“Garcia was this good?” McQueen was surprised. He could not imagine that his old servant had such an identity hidden away, “Talent. Such great talent is truly a treasure. We’ve finally found the right person to take on the responsibility of developing Toss City’s pharmaceutical industry!”
While McQueen was excited, he did not reveal any of that excitement as he was the castellan. “I hope that medicine works or we would die a meaningless death. Let’s get moving, we’ll find out if it works eventually.”
The magic cave was on the border of the Kingdom of Soladin and Venus. The terrain was that of small hills with tall ancient trees all over the place. This forest was actually the boundary of the Forest of Fog with most of the trees being broadleaf trees. Most of the sunlight was blocked by the dense crown of the tree causing the ground level to only be able to sustain vegetation like moss.
The slippery moss felt disgusting went stepped on. McQueen stepped carefully, avoiding the moss and various other plants that he did not know the names of. McQueen could be very certain that these were not the planets from the earth that he was familiar with.
It was not him who lacked knowledge but rather that the plants by the magic cave were too special. Have you ever seen plants with eyes on their leaves? Have you ever seen plants that can walk around using their roots? Have you ever seen plants that not only have a mouth but can also scream? Have you seen plants that can stretch their branches towards you for a handshake?
McQueen swung his head and said lightly as he looked upon all that was in front of him, “Explain!”
“This is the harmless big eye grass. You can even eat it if you’re really hungry.“ Bruce plucked a plant that looked like garlic, pointing at the densely packed eyes on the leaves and explained to McQueen, “The eyes are fake and are only meant to be scary.”
McQueen received the big eye grass, wanting to examine it in detail. The eyes on the big eye grass were not big but they were many and were densely packed all over the long dark green leaf. The roots were white with many extensions, similar to a scallion. McQueen pulled on the leaves of the big eye grass and suddenly said with a voice full of surprise, “Eh, these fake eyes seem to be able to move?”
“Careful…” Bruce shouted.
Splat, a sticky dark green liquid shot out from the fake eye and spread out over McQueen’s face, running down the side of McQueen’s face.
“Damnit!” McQueen exploded in a roar.
“My castellan, just wipe it off, there’s nothing to worry about, this just a defensive response from the big eye grass, the fluid is not poisonous.” Bruce consoled in sympathy.
McQueen rolled his eyes and accepted his fate.
“This is the walking flower. It is able to remove itself from the soil and walk quickly for short distance. The fragrance from the flowers of this plant can repel mosquitoes so you can rub the flowers on your body for the same effect.” Bruce spotted a walking flower with his sharp eyes and grabbed them before they could escape. Then, he plucked 2 white flowers from the plant, handing one to McQueen and keeping the other one for himself. “Rub the flower on your leg and arm and you can get the mosquito repelling effect.”
McQueen tried it out with some doubt. The other veterans also went to catch their own flowers. With there being so many mosquitoes in the forest, having such a natural mosquito repellent was simply a blessing.
“This is the frightened grass. It does not have much use and will scream even if slightly disturbed so it’s best to leave it alone, or else…” Bruce had not even finished his sentence and McQueen had already plucked off a leaf of the frightened grass.
“Ah…Ah…Ah…” The ear piercing scream rang out, shattering the silence in the Forest of Fog. Such a scream would travel for at least a few kilometres.
“Get into formation, protect the castellan.” Bruce shouted and sliced the frightened grass with his axe, ending the scream. The veterans surrounded McQueen and readied their weapons, searching the surrounding with serious and alert gazes
Realising that he screwed up, McQueen scratched his head in embarassment and remained silent.
After a period of time where everything was still peaceful as before, Bruce lowered the axe in his hand and ordered, “At ease, let’s move on.”
He then turned to McQueen and said, “My castellan, it seems that the blood awakening potion worked, the blood of the great Arathi contains divine suppression and has scared the magic beasts away.”
“About that, Bruce, what kind of ability did my ancestor have that allow his blood to still have such potential even after so many years?” McQueen asked. By the laws of inheritance, the only thing that the descendants could receive was the genes and the suppressive ability of his blood must be due to a mutated gene. The question lies in what kind of power could turn into such a strong gene?
Oh well, this is an alternate world and the laws of inheritance might differ. However, Arathi must be powerful enough to break some kind of restriction to allow his descendants to have such power. After all, in the novels, only divine beasts, devils and gods can leave behind their blood, allowing their descendants to become overwhelming powerful out of the blue.
McQueen read lots of novels in his previous life and was very familiar with such an idea.
“The great Arathi might be a demi-god.” Bruce’s eyes flashed with fanaticism as he told McQueen about a new level of power, “Past the god sealing power, allowing an ordinary person to become a god. Arathi is a legendary character who single-handedly built the Kingdom of Soladin and is acknowledged by the inhabitants of the continent to be the person most likely to have reached the realm of demi-gods. However, with the passage of time, there is no way to verify whether he was or was not a demi-god. As for this trip to the magic cave, if my castellan is able to suppress the magic beasts well, then it would be obvious whether the great Arathi was a demi-god.”
Listening to Bruce’s words, McQueen could only lament in his mind about how experimenting was the only true measure of reality.
“My castellan, commander, we have discovered a cover up front.” A veteran reported.
Bruce eyebrows raised as he laid out his order, “Protect the castellan and enter to scout for signs of the north and south camps.”
Cave? McQueen’s eyes flashed. This must be the goal of the expedition. After all, that was the focus of all the conversations he had heard so far.
“Bruce, you said that the north and south camps could have come here?” McQueen asked as he looked at the dark cave. The dense tree crown already blocked out most of the sunlight, causing the surface to be rather dark already, so it was impossible to see what was in the interior of the cave.
“They could have gone to any of the caves, so we have to search each and every one of them. We’ll find the cave that they went in eventually.” Bruce took a torch which had been prepared earlier and headed into the cave.
McQueen trembled as he followed. He did not want to go down into the dark, wet and gloomy cave. Who knew what was in there? Of course, as the “magic monster repellant”, McQueen had no choice but to follow them in.
With a step, McQueen found the cave to be moist. The cave did not go straight down but rather had a steep and curving descent. Thanks to light from the torches, McQueen found that the walls of the cave were covered in flowery green algae. Even though it was not scary, it was still extremely disgusting. In his mind, McQueen lamented about how an honorable castellan like him was stuck exploring a disgusting cave when he should be enjoying good food and a comfortable life.
“The guys at the back, catch up. I’m sensing something different, there might be a magic beast.” Bruce lowered his voice and hurried the people behind.
“Magic beast! Don’t me see you or I’ll skin and roast all of you!” McQueen muttered angrily. At that moment, he slipped and fell down the cave. Screaming, he shot past Bruce and became the leader of the crowd…