Chapter 43: West River Forest (1)
“Ahead of you is Dragonfish Gorge. West River Forest is just past Dragonfish Gorge, and West Forest Town is just past that,” the owner of the boat said, sitting at the prow of the boat as he pointed in front of them.
“West River Forest? Is that the forest that has been here ever since ancient times? Apparently, it contains many ancient beasts and rare ingredients, but because it’s cursed, outsiders can’t go in easily?” Su Chen asked, also standing on the prow.
After nearly half a day on the boat, they had left Clear River City far behind. Su Chen had finished consolidating his Knowledge Sea, and his consciousness had returned to reality.
“That’s right!” The boat owner nodded. “That place is really demonic. There are a lot of people who want to go in and search for resources, but not many people return alive.”
“But very little means that some people returned alive?” Su Chen asked.
“Ai, guest, don’t think like that! The risk is too great. People have returned from West River Forest alive before, but the people who returned never went very far into the forest. Even so, many people returned with the curse on them. One such person actually brought a tragic fate upon his whole family!”
Su Chen laughed, “That curse can be passed on?”
“Isn’t that so? That’s why it’s so frightening.”
“But I heard that there are people who can survive in West River Forest?” the young scholar asked.
“Those are the natives, a bunch of savages. Those people can live deep in the forest but aren’t affected. However, they can’t leave the forest either; apparently, they will also die if they leave the forest for too long. This really is a place where the people inside can’t get out and the people outside can’t get in. It’s like a large cage,” the boat owner said as he shook his head.
“No wonder I heard that the resources are completely under the control of the Ten Bloodline Nobility Clans even though the production of West River Forest is good,” Su Chen muttered.
“Exactly. That’s a huge money farm for them. They buy large quantities of those rare ingredients from these locals at low prices, then sell them for almost a hundred times the original price,” Iron Cliff said from the side. “I heard that City Lord An and the Ten Bloodline Nobility Clans are at odds largely because of this. City Lord An wanted to collect taxes on this, but those Bloodline Nobility Clans kept trying to shirk their responsibilities and never reported their true profits. The profits from the West River Forest number in the tens of millions every year, but City Lord An doesn’t even get a single tael of gold out of it. How could he not become agitated?”
Su Chen harrumphed, “So those Bloodline Nobility Clans only know how to drain others dry and never contribute anything. They really deserve to die.”
The Bloodline Nobility Clans had quite a bit of local clout. When the guests heard what Su Chen said, they all jumped with fear and no longer dared to hold a conversation with him.
Su Chen said, “Boatmaster, I’ve changed my mind. We’ll disembark at West River Forest.”
Originally, Su Chen was planning on hunting Vicious Beasts near the West Mountain Range further away, but he decided instead to take care of it here.
When the boatmaster heard that Su Chen wanted to disembark near West River Forest, he quickly tried to convince him otherwise. However, Su Chen just wouldn’t listen, and the boatmaster could only relent.
The boat traveled for another half a day before it finally passed Dragonfish Gorge and arrived at West River Forest.
Su Chen and Iron Cliff disembarked once the boat stopped and stepped onto the shore.
As he watched the two people disappear into the forest, the boatmaster shook his head and sighed, “Another two people sending themselves to their deaths.”
In his eyes, the two of them were already dead men.
Upon reaching the riverbank, the two of them set off for the depths of the forest.
The forest was deep and secluded. The further in they went, the quieter and darker it grew.
When they were deep inside, they found that the trees were taller and taller, but the roots protruded more and more from the ground. The ground was covered with roots intertwined with each other. Looking off in the distance, it was as if the ground was covered with snakes.
Vines also hung down from the tree branches, but there were also real snakes lying in wait, suddenly exploding into motion when a person walked by.
Su Chen raised his hand, grabbing the snake by the head with two fingers. Then, he tilted his head to the side as a streak of poisonous liquid shot past his ear.
His fingers clamped on the snake’s head as he pried its mouth open, inspecting it closely and collecting some of the poisonous liquid before letting the snake go.
Under his microscopic eye, the secrets behind the poisonous liquid became obvious at a glance.
Su Chen very quickly dissected the composition of the poisonous liquid. It wasn’t powerful, but he could refine it into a type of poisonous Origin Substance. If he combined it with some of the other poisonous Origin Substances he possessed, perhaps he could refine them into a powerful poison.
Ten or so possible combinations immediately leapt into Su Chen’s head.
Poison wasn’t one of Su Chen’s primary research directions, but even so, he could turn into a poison-concocting expert in just a matter of minutes if he wanted to.
After tossing the snake aside, Su Chen and Iron Cliff continued to advance. Very quickly, they encountered a Jungle Flowery Python. Even though it was just a low-tier Vicious Beast, they would be able to use its Origin Energy after killing it.
The master and servant pair didn’t hesitate to kill it and absorb its Origin Energy.
However, the effect of absorbing this Origin Energy clearly had more of an effect on Iron Cliff than on Su Chen.
Cultivation bases in the Blood Boiling Realm were measured by Azure Stars, and the amount of Origin Energy needed to reach the Yang Opening Realm was much higher as well. A low-tier Vicious Beast could only raise his cultivation base so much. This was similar to a person who had received a promotion; to reach the next promotion, the person would need much more experience. Actually, killing beasts that were too weak would even lower his experience.
Thus, the two of them didn’t stop advancing and continued to head deeper into the forest.
After walking a bit longer, Su Chen suddenly motioned for them to stop.
All Iron Cliff could see was a hazy mist, and it seemed like nothing was there. However, Su Chen’s eyes could see a large group of dense red dots floating in the sky not far from them.
“There’s something ahead of us?” Iron Cliff realized something as he asked.
“Yes, a kind of lifeform roughly the same size as a microscopic substance. Let’s call it a microscopic organism. Open your Spirit Eye and you’ll be able to see it.”
Ever since he had discovered the aggregates of Origin Substances within the block of metal and their special effects, Su Chen had taken to calling them microscopic substances.
Microscopic substances, Origin Substances, and Particles became the three different tiers in Su Chen’s eyes.
Even though microscopic substances were hard to spot with one’s physical eyes, spirit-eye type Origin Skills could still catch glimpses of them. However, it was impossible to see them as clearly as Su Chen could with his microscopic eye, which was all the way down to its composition.
Iron Cliff, however, replied with a bitter face, “I thought it was too much of a hassle and never really cultivated it.”
Su Chen’s expression sank. “The Cliff Race is more of a physical race and cannot use Origin Energy as well as humans, but that doesn’t mean that the Cliff Race is innately stupid. It also doesn’t mean that the Cliff Race can only do brainless work. Iron Cliff, if you treat yourself as a Cliff Race member who only ever needs to fight and doesn’t need to use his brain, you won’t have any future prospects no matter how other people help you.”
Iron Cliff lowered his head silently. “Okay. I will cultivate it diligently when we go back.”
Su Chen turned around to take a closer look at those microscopic organisms, then walked over to them.
When he entered that patch of land, those microscopic organisms exploded forth and charged at Su Chen.
From a macroscopic view, the stench of blood suddenly appeared, as if some vicious beast was encroaching. However, nothing could be spotted. All one could feel was a strange, dangerous sensation crawling over one’s skin.
If one used one’s Spirit Eye, one would see wave after wave of a red fog spreading in all directions, flying through the air like smoke and ash from an explosion.
And purely in the microscopic world, these microscopic organisms rushed forward like a tide, entering Su Chen’s various orifices. After they entered, they continued to travel through his body, taking root in his body as they began to absorb his life force.