Chapter 20: Yi Yun’s suspicions
In the past two days, Yi Yun had been dedicating himself to practicing. Because of his injuries, both his hands were bandaged.
Yi Yun frequently sneaked out in the middle of the night, and this did not escape Jiang Xiaorou.
“Yun-er, what have you been doing these past few days? Also, what’s wrong with your hands?”
Ever since Yi Yun’s mother passed away, Jiang Xiaorou had taken up the responsibility of being Yi Yun’s mother, taking care of him in every possible way.
Even when Yi Yun made a mistake, Jiang Xiaorou would not blame him, but stare at him till Yi Yun confessed his wrongdoings.
It was the same today.
Yi Yun had wanted to make the excuse of hurting himself when picking herbs, but under Jiang Xiaorou’s watchful gaze, he hesitated before speaking the truth, “Sis Xiaorou, I’ve been practicing martial arts at night. The injuries on my hand were caused by my training.”
Jiang Xiaorou was stunned, practicing martial arts?
“Yun-er, who did you learn martial arts from?”
“I secretly learned it,’ said Yi Yun honestly.
Jiang Xiaorou’s expression changed. Secretly learning the tribe’s martial arts would be a crime. Also learning martial arts was no easy task. Even without herbs and meat, one needed to have a good meal. Yi Yun only ate gruel and wild vegetables daily. Where did he have the strength to train?
This could be a matter of life and death.
“Sis Xiaorou, do you believe me?” Yi Yun grabbed Jiang Xiaorou’s hand while looking into her eyes seriously.
Jiang Xiaorou paused before nodding her head subconsciously.
“Well, if you believe me, don’t ask any further. Sis Xiaorou, I’ll lead you to a better life in the future!” Yi Yun said seriously. Jiang Xiaorou was the first person he met in this strange world, and was the person who had cared for him with her life ever since.
He felt a sense of gratitude towards her. He wanted not only to change his own fate, but to also change Jiang Xiaorou’s fate.
Jiang Xiaorou looked at Yi Yun in a daze, a thought rose in her mind–her brother has grown up.
He was no longer the child of old. The words he said were not to be treated as infant speak. He was working hard to match his objectives…
Yi Yun was slowly growing accustomed to the plain meals he had. Or it could be said; he had no choice but to do so.
Although the grain porridge tasted bad, Yi Yun would digest it immediately after having an increase in appetite. Without the Lian Clan Herb Mountain to support him, Yi Yun would have starved to death, not to mention breakthrough into the Vigour realm.
However, although the herbs could supplement the body’s nutritional and energetic requirements, it was not enough to replace meals. The taste of the herbs was worse than grain porridge.
As the days passed, for a glutton like Yi Yun, it was a torture for him.
The only thing good in his life was Jiang Xiaorou’s pickled vegetables.
It was sad to say that although Yi Yun was not considered rich on Earth, he had the opportunity to eat anything he wanted. But ever since he came to this strange world, he had not had a taste of meat. Pickled vegetables were now a delicacy.
However, Jiang Xiaorou’s pickled vegetables were indeed considered very delicious. For Jiang Xiaorou’s family, pickled vegetables were considered an extravagance, as the village did not have any salt. All the salt had to be bought from the bigger tribes.
Much of the salt was provided to the warrior preparation camp. They used the salt to cure the meat, so only tiny amounts of salt were distributed to the commoners. It was mostly used to boil vegetable soup. Using it to make pickled vegetables was obviously an extravagant way of eating.
After a couple of days, all the herbs on the Lian Clan Herb Mountain were picked dry. Even with the Purple Crystal’s guidance, even decent herbs couldn’t be found. To hand over the herbs, the villagers even uprooted the sprouts of the herbs.
“Having picked the entire herb mountain dry like that, without any consideration of the future. It seems the Lian tribal clan has gambled their all, and have given up on the land they stayed. All hope rested on Lian Chengyu. However, even if Lian Chengyu passed the Tai Ah Divine Kingdom’s warrior selection, only a few people from the warrior preparation camp would benefit. It was likely all the commoners would be abandoned…”
Yi Yun had mixed feelings. This was the way of living in the vast wilderness. There were limited resources; the strong obtained more resources while the weak were eliminated.
With the value of the herb mountain’s value getting lower and lower, the Lian tribal clan’s upper echelons stopped focusing on the herb mountain. All their attention and energies were placed on the refinement of the desolate bones.
This set of desolate bones was of the highest importance. For this set of desolate bones, the Lian tribal clan had placed all their bets on it, all their hopes were pinned on it.
Even Lian Chengyu had put in his all, his ambition, his hopes; his everything was now bet on this!
The refinement of the desolate bones required sixty days!
On the tenth day of the refinement process, something weird happened.
A few villagers in charge of the refinement of the desolate bones fell sick. It began with a cough and fever, but it soon broke out into diarrhoea, skin rashes and depression. The symptoms resembled typhoid.
In a small tribe in such a vast wilderness, a common warrior with good physical fitness and strong physical resistance would be fine, but for the poor villagers, once ill, there was no such thing as a minor illness.
Because their body was weak and had poor resistance, and the tribe only had one doctor who served the upper echelons, the poor were doomed to die from the cold ailment.
Yi Yun felt something was amiss when he heard the news.
Typhoid sounded like the cold, but it was actually a bacterial infection. Yi Yun wasn’t sure if the typhoid in this strange world was the same as on Earth. But with so many ill, it had to be some type of communicable disease.
What Yi Yun couldn’t figure out was that common infectious diseases usually spread through water or air. However the villagers who were refining the desolate bones were confined to the cauldron where the temperatures were extremely high!
Under sustained high temperatures and low humidity, most common viruses would find it hard to survive. If there was an outbreak, it would be from others, not from the people refining the desolate bones?
Could it be a virus that spread easily under dry conditions?
Thinking of this, Yi Yun’s heart sank. The matter of the villagers falling sick was not so simple!
With five people ill, the people of the Lian tribal clan and especially the rest of the people refining the desolate bones began to panic.
With them being there, they could contract the disease anytime.
Although life was tough, no one wanted to die.
Thankfully, the upper echelons of the Lian tribal clan did not brush the matter aside. The Patriarch came forward to calm the masses, and gave each of the ill a red pill.
The pill was the size of a longan, red like blood. According to the Patriarch, it was an extremely expensive herb obtained from refinement. Each pill was worth a fortune.
The Patriarch instructed the ill to swallow it down with warm water. The illness will be cured after having the medicine. And the ill that ate the pill felt better on the first day, and felt energetic after a night’s sleep. By the evening of the second day, they were no different from normal people.
On the third day, the ill were even livelier, better than before they fell ill.
Besides that, the Patriarch distributed a palm-sized piece of bacon to all the villagers who fell ill. This was meat, something these villagers had not seen for months. It was a great gift to them.
The poor cherished this piece of bacon and ate tiny amounts of it. Some of them gave it to their children, some to their wife.
The news that the Lian tribal clan distributed pills and bacon to the ill spread like wildfire.
The people in suffering did it for the tribunal good, and worked even harder for the refinement of the desolate bones. Some even wished they fell ill, for they would receive a pill that made them feel even more energetic, and that piece of bacon.
Yi Yun frowned when the news reached him.
A pill that could cure the illness, and make them feel even better?
Although Yi Yun had no medical training, he knew that having such great effects after eating a pill must be something that stimulated the people, which would have strong side effects.
Examples were stimulants such as drugs and other prohibited drugs that could ignite a person’s potential.
Yi Yun was especially sceptical about the higher echelons of the Lian tribal clan spreading the news of them handing out pills made of extremely precious herbs.
The Lian tribal clan could never be this generous. Besides, to be able to be generous, they had to have the precious herbs, and from Yi Yun’s perspective, even the upper echelons of the Lian tribal clan were poor too. It was a situation of pot calling the kettle black between the upper echelons and plebeians. Also they had limited resources, and had used it all on Lian Chengyu, how could they hand out herbs to the poor?
Yet another day, the Lian tribal clan distributed the herbal dregs. These herbal dregs were the remnants of what Lian Chengyu had finished using. It was for those who had refined the desolate bones with the goal of strengthening their bodies. Those who received the herbal dregs were naturally grateful.