Chapter 257 – Changes Of Iron Mountain Castle
The Liquid Of Life was very famous on the continent. If people knew Zhao Hai had an undepletable source of it, he would surely attract a lot of envy.
But what Zhao Hai couldn’t understand the most, was that he had never heard of anyone using the Liquid Of Life to revive any plants. Could it be that the space caused the Liquid Of Life to mutate?
The vial which Yale had given Zhao Hai was only as large as his palm. The neck was rectangular, like one of those liquor flasks he had seen before on Earth. The vial was full of engravings, which made it look very beautiful.
Laura looked at the vial and said, “This vial looks like a product of the elves. Elves love nature deeply and they have high standards regarding art. Every work of art must be made above what ‘great’ could be used to describe, and most of them are based on the mark of nature. See those engravings? Do they look like vines? Every leaf was etched so intricately that you can see the webs. There’s even a special magic formation exclusive to elves on the vial, but I don’t know what it does.”
Zhao Hai looked at the engravings carefully. They were indeed special, but he didn’t know about the magic formation part. The space didn’t notify him about it, so it didn’t seem like it was really a magic formation.
Zhao Hai liked the vial a lot. He shook it lightly and noticed that there was still half of the Liquid Of Life left. It was no longer rare to him now, so he drank it all down and smacked his lips.
The Liquid Of Life wasn’t flavorless like ordinary water. There was a very special taste. How to put it? The taste was a bit like being in the woods in the middle of a growth spurt during spring. Refreshing and natural.
Zhao Hai nodded, “Not a bad taste. All of you should have a taste. Directly from the spring, that is.”
Laura and the others laughed at that before they tried the spring water. Such a refreshing taste was very suitable for ladies.
Zhao Hai brought them to the ranch. Cai-Er couldn’t manage the ranch since she was a plant fairy, so Zhao Hai had to manage much of the ranch’s matters himself. It was good that Mu-Er had joined in right now. He could now leave matters for Mu-Er to manage.
Zhao Hai let Mu-Er get familiar with the surroundings before managing the ranch. Actually, it was excessive to do so. He didn’t know that the reason why Mu-Er appeared was because the cane was special.
The body of the cane was made of refined gold, mithril, and several other high class magic beast tendons, while the grip of the cane was made of a soul bone.
Soul bones were rare on the continent, so it could be said that only a handful of people knew about them. Someone happened upon the soul bone used in the creation of this cane. That someone only felt that the bone was very special and sturdy, so he made it the grip of the cane.
What they didn’t know was that the soul bone had a special ability, which was to seal souls. Sealing souls meant that the soul of a deceased person could be sealed into the bone, which would ensure that the soul would not disappear. At the right opportunity, when a suitable vessel was found, the soul could be extracted from the bone and put into body, and that person would be regarded as revived.
However, there was no such magic to do so on Ark Continent. Because there were no magic beasts that could produce soul bones, no one knew about them in the slightest.
Actually speaking, soul bones had another ability, which was to gain sentience on their own, little by little. But the sentience could not be called a soul, because it would be too weak.
To the space, however, a soul bone would be like a blank computer. Just add some programs into it, and the computer would function normally. It was also because of the space’s alterations that Mu-Er appeared.
Because Mu-Er was created by the space, all information related to the ranch had been inputted directly into Mu-er, which was beyond Zhao Hai’s knowledge. There was no need for familiarization.
Although Cai-Er couldn’t manage the ranch, Mu-Er couldn’t manage the farm, and Zhao Wen couldn’t intervene in neither. But the 3 of them could freely come and go between these 2 places. Especially the lively Cai-Er who kept following and teasing Mu-Er, like a child who had found a new toy.
After sorting out the matters in the ranch, Zhao Hai and the others returned to Iron Mountain Castle. Greene was there at the moment. Unless there was anything important, Greene and the others wouldn’t come into the space. Even Crune had set up a laboratory in the castle.
Humans are social animals, after all. They need to communicate with others. Greene and Kun Zheng were of similar age and experiences, so the 2 of them got along well. Since there hadn’t been an issue on the Beastmen Prairie, the 2 of them were cooped up in Iron Mountain Castle, which let them learn more about the surrounding environment, in order to prepare the place to become the most important and integral base in a better way.
The 2 sagacious old men knew clearly, that no matter where Zhao Hai and the others went, the Black Wastelands was their roots, and the foundation of Buda family’s development.
The space could provide them with assistance, but if Zhao Hai were gone, then what would Buda family depend on? It could only be the Black Wastelands.
Upon reaching the castle, Zhao Hai and the others noticed that Greene and Kun Zheng were absent. Even Maylin was gone. They learned from Blockhead that the 3 elders had gone to the underground lake.
They then went to the underground lake in the mountain, but they didn’t find the elders. Zhao Hai didn’t become anxious. The Black Wastelands was very safe at the moment, so nothing could’ve happened. It was possible that they had simply gone somewhere else.
Zhao Hai and the others returned to the castle’s surroundings. The rice milling factory was operating normally, and so was the oil squashing factory. The blue-eyed rabbits had been raised well, while the 2 argali were in top condition with no signs of sickness. Everything was in working order.
Although it had become colder outside the castle, there was no drop in the temperature inside. The temperature inside the castle was higher because of Cai-Er’s rainbow flowers.
Due to the climate, the improved soil outside could not be planted, and the corn in the valley had been harvested. However, Zhao Hai had a new idea. He let Cai-Er leave a branch in the valley, so that the temperature there would rise and the land there could be planted again.
The castle was bustling right now, as there was another couple who got married. Of course, as with before, Zhao Hai held a marriage ceremony for them and gave them a marriage certificate, while also restoring their commoner statuses.
Zhao Hai didn’t want the slaves to remain as slaves forever. A force could not be sustained with slaves alone, so Zhao Hai didn’t mind turning the slaves into civilians.
Zhao Hai wasn’t worried that the slaves would leave after gaining civilian identities. They couldn’t leave because of their brands. No one would acknowledge their civilian identities outside of the Black Wastelands. They would even be captured as runaway slaves.
The slaves were very satisfied, not only because Zhao Hai had given them civilian statuses, but also because he had given them lands and houses. Helping Zhao Hai do things gave them money to spend. While it was a given that they now had to use money when they ate food and vegetables, the prices were low. They could totally save up some money to buy necessities and what they liked.
Now, in Iron Mountain Castle, the first shop had been set up: the Lycoris Free Market. There was only one person keeping watch, and that was Ju.
This market was designed by Zhao Hai according to supermarkets on Earth. Every day, Blockhead and Rockhead would let some slaves replenish the stocks, while only Ju alone would keep watch during regular hours. Whether they were slaves or civilians, anyone could come and buy things, with identical prices of course. Ju only received payment at the entrance, so everyone bought what they liked and made payments to Ju.
Laura had never heard of such a shop before. She thought that this was totally a chance to have things stolen, but Zhao Hai went ahead with it. What surprised her was that nothing had been stolen since the opening of the market. Not even a single needle was reported to be lost.
It wasn’t just Laura who was surprised. Zhao Hai was even more surprised. He didn’t expect that the slaves, who had become civilians for only a short time, would have such a resolve.
What he didn’t know was that it was exactly because the slaves had been paid money and given civilian identities that they wouldn’t steal things. To them, being able to buy things like normal people was a happiness as well. They didn’t have a chance to do so before. Now that they had it, of course they wouldn’t let it go.
Zhao Hai didn’t build this market in order to earn money. He hoped that the civilians of his fief could lead ordinary lives. Buying and selling things was what an ordinary person could do. He didn’t want the people of his fief leading slave lives despite having civilian identities.
Iron Mountain Castle looked like a real castle right now. The slaves who worked their shifts in the rice milling and oil squashing factories would go shopping around different parts of the castle after work, or chatting around together. Their lives were carefree.
Zhao Hai was very satisfied with the current situation of the castle. He knew that changes had to come in little by little. It would have been impossible to do this when he had first arrived, but now it had all fallen into place.
Zhao Hai and the others sat in the living room of the castle. Laura looked around and smiled, “To be honest, I still like it here, because it feels like home here.”
Zhao Hai laughed, “Of course. you set up everything here by yourself. Of course it feels like home to you, hehe… What are granpa Kun Zheng and the others doing?”
Laura laughed, “It’s alright. If they said they went to the lake in the mountain, they must be there. I think that they must’ve gone to see how long it is, and where its source is. They must be trying to figure this land out.”
Zhao Hai nodded, “I heard that they want to draw a map, detailing the course of the mountain, its terrain, and everything around us. This is our home, so we should have a proper understanding of it.”
Just then, Kun Zheng’s voice came from outside. Zhao Hai and the others stood up immediately before Kun Zheng, Greene and Maylin came in. The 3 of them were startled, and then Greene asked with a smile, “Back this early today? What happened?”
Zhao Hai shook his head, “Nah. Nothing at all. We just finished our matters earlier, so we came back.”
After they all sat down, Laura described what happened during these past few days to Greene, Kun Zheng and Maylin, who listened quietly. They never thought that so many things happened on the prairie in such a short time.
Once Laura finished, Greene spoke with a frown, “Young master, you really swore the Beheading Blood Oath with that Wales? Wasn’t that too brash?”
Zhao Hai gave a bitter smile, “It couldn’t be helped. If I didn’t agree to it, then the cooperation with Wales would’ve fallen through. Currently, almost all the large tribes have their own long-term cooperating merchants, so we can’t interfere. If we gave up this chance, we don’t know when our business on the prairie will succeed, so I decided to gamble.”
Kun Zheng agreed with what Zhao Hai had done. He nodded, “I think little Hai did the right thing. The Herculean Bull Tribe has quite a high standing on the prairie. Common battle tribes wouldn’t be unreasonable with them. Even the highly-ranked battle tribes will give the herculean bulls some face. If we can form ties with them, it will be good for our business on the prairie. I’ve heard of this Beheading Blood Oath before. It’s one of the most important oaths to the beastmen. If Wales dared to swear this oath, it means he doesn’t have wicked intentions towards little Hai. This is enough.”
Zhao Hai nodded. Just when he was about to say something, his expression changed, “We have to go back. Just now, the undead saw that the blood hawk has returned. Something might’ve happened.” After bidding farewell to Greene, Kun Zheng and Maylin, he led Laura and the others back to the campsite on the prairie.