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Chapter 26 - New Crisis
While Zhao and Blockhead stood by the lake, Meirin whispered some incantations, and pretty soon a layer of water appeared around them.
They were shielded as a wave of water rolled them on to the lake.
Zhao found that the three of them were now standing in a transparent blue ball, and there was something like a geyser holding them up on the lake.
This was Zhao's second time encountering magic. The first time was when Meirin used a simple lighting spell and made a water bubble for him. And now they were using magic to ride over the lake like a reed going down a river.
As they moved over the lake, Zhao couldn't help but be shocked. He knew that there was magic in this world and that Meirin was an eighth level water mage, but he was still amazed.
Meirin looked very relaxed, confident in her ability over the water, like she was invincible. When she said that there may be a spirit beast, she wasn't even a little worried, because she believes that she can easily kill it.
Using magic to ride on the water rapidly got them across, where before it took them three hours to walk to that valley, but now it only took them half an hour to reach the other side of the mountain. Fortunately, they saw the cave that was the entrance to the mines near the castle, which proves that this was indeed the same lake. This means that they could use this lake as a waterway, allowing them to move in secret to the valley.
Once they reached the other side, Meirin removed her magic, and Zhao could finally jump down to the ground. Feeling the earth under his feet felt really good. When they were going over the clear water, Zhao couldn't shake the thought that he was going to fall into it, making him feel uncomfortable.
After the trio walked through the cave, they saw a lot of slaves working. It wasn't noon, not yet the time for them to rest, so a lot of them were cleaning the mines, while many other slaves were doing carpentry.
To keep the blue-eyed rabbits in this place, they will need a lot of fences. And since they didn't have iron, they had no choice but to use wood.
When they were exiled to the castle, Green brought some wood, although not very much. He preferred to buy finished products, because he knew that even if some of the slaves knew some carpentry, they wouldn't be able to make anything too complicated. After all, slaves with good craftsman skills couldn't be bought with a cheap price.
When the trio appeared, the slaves were taken aback, immediately bowing down three times to them. The trio nodded their heads at the slaves, and then walked out of the mines.
Meg and Rockhead were standing outside the mines, and were very surprised when they saw the three walk out. Meg quickly greeted them and asked, "Master, Grandma, how did you come out from the mines?"
Meirin smiled. "We came from across the lake. On the other side, there's a valley which we have chosen as the most appropriate place for cultivation. Master has just improved some of the land there, so now we're back."
Meg's eyes lit up. "Really? That's great! I did not expect that you would be so successful."
They spoke some more about the lake and the valley, until Meirin turned to Zhao and said, "Master, let's return to the castle to rest. I have something to tell you."
Zhao was surprised for a moment. He didn't know what Meirin wanted to talk about, but after seeing the solemn look on her face, he immediately nodded his head. "Well, then let's go back. Blockhead, you stay and help Meg and Rockhead." Blockhead agreed to stay, while Meg said that they would continue to look after the slaves.
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Meirin and Zhao went to the living room after arriving at the castle. Zhao looked puzzled. "Grandma Meirin, what do you want to tell me that you couldn't say outside?"
"Master, when we came back today, on the way, I explored the situation with the lake, but I didn't find any strong water magic. There are only two explanations for this. One, the water spirit beast is very powerful, and very good at hiding its wherabouts from me. But that is almost impossible because I'm a mage of the eighth level. I am very confident that nothing can hide in the water if I tried to look for it. The second explanation is that there is simply no powerful water spirit beast at all. That would mean that there must be another reason why there are no fish in the water."
Zhao soon realized the seriousness of the problem. The underground lake was an important part of their plans for the future development of his fief. If there was no way to raise fish, then they would lose an important source of funding. If such a large lake couldn't be used, then that would really be a waste. Zhao was sullen. "Can you identify the reason?"
Meirin's face was also heavy. "I once heard a rumor, although I don't know if it's related to the lake situation." She paused. "They say that there is a reason why the Black Waste is so close to the carrion swamp. It's because every so often there would be an army of toxic undead spirit beasts that would charge into the Black Waste, and then kill every living creature. In doing so, they would poison the soil and turn this area into a wasteland of death. But no one has come to the Black Waste for a long time, so this rumor has never been proven. But if it was true, then this is probably the reason why there are no fish in the lake."
Zhao's face changed. If it really was like Meirin said, then this was big. Meirin, Green, Blockhead, and Rockhead could handle themselves, but some of the slaves couldn't fight. If undead spirit beasts really did come out of the carrion swamp and attacked them, then those people would die.
Zhao rubbed his forehead, which was a habit he had in his past life.
Meirin was also worried. If such a thing could happen, then they might have to stop their plans for raising money, making it hard for everyone to live here.
"If what you say is true, then we're in big trouble," Zhao said. "Grandma Meirin, we'll wait for Grandpa Green to come back before we discuss this any further. But I'll tell you, starting tomorrow, stop the slaves from cleaning the mines. Instead, we'll use the supplies we brought to build some simple weapons. The slaves could train at the same time they'll be making repairs to the castle. If anything happens, we could rely on the castle to withstand an attack. And if that doesn't work, I could put everyone in my space so we could avoid those undead spirit beasts."
Meirin frowned. "But we've already been in the Black Waste for a few days and yet nothing has come out of the carrion swamp, so there might not be a problem. I hope that my worries are unnecessary."
Zhao shook his head. "Whether it's something we should worry about or not, we still need to take preventive measures. Right now there's a chance for the Buda clan to thrive here, but if all was lost, then there would be no hope for us to stand on."
"Well, I'll go make the arrangements. But you should know that most of the supplies we brought were for living. We simply didn't bring any weapons, so how do we make some?"
Zhao couldn't think of anything. If his spatial farm's level was high enough, then he could plant some trees and make weapons out of them. But his current level was too low. And he couldn't just give the slaves corn stalks to defend themselves against the undead.
Zhao rubbed his forehead until there was a big red mark on it, but nothing came to mind, until all of a sudden he noticed the stone floor. A light bulb flashed in his mind. "Grandma Meirin, tomorrow, we'll tell some of the slaves to bring a lot of stones back, so we could prepare some stone weapons. Although they aren't exactly powerful, it should be enough to defend ourselves with."
Meirin thought about it, and agreed. "Well, thanks to the king, we couldn't take any weapons with us, so that will have to do for now. But if that's the case, then when Green comes back, we'll have him purchase some weapons soon."
Zhao nodded. He really did not think that one day they would have to return to the Stone Age.
Looks like the higher ups in the Empire really didn't want to give them a way out, otherwise they would have allowed the Buda clan to take arms with them to the Black Waste. He didn't believe that none of those guys didn't also hear of those rumors about the Black Waste.
It wasn't enough for them to face starvation in this place, they might also have to face a new crisis of undead spirit beasts.
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