Chapter 850: Fatal crisis
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
The mage apprentice, Hants was truly unlucky. While he was nervously preparing all the materials for the medicine, he found that the Athelas herbs couldn't be prepared according to his teacher's instructions. That's because Hants couldn't find Old Steger's old cat anymore. He suddenly remembered that the old cat had been brought to a village 3 days ago.
Sheyan then asked a question that he would come to regret for a long time.
"Um, Mr. Hants, what does Athelas have to do with a cat?"
Hants solemnly replied.
"Athelas isn't really a rare herb. In fact, it can be found around the Shire. However, if we want to lift the Black Breath, we would need to use its seeds. Now, Athelas seeds are much rarer. They are highly poisonous so we normally use them to produce poison. This poison is very popular among hunters."
"I still don't understand what that has to do with a cat?" Sheyan continued with his enquiry.
"Please be patient while I explain, sir....Because the Athelas seed is poisonous, we must be very careful with its preparation. We must first remove the poisonous outer layer of the seed. Even if a tiny bit of the poisonous layer is left, it would severely affect the potency of the medicine. Therefore, we must let a cat swallow the seed first because its gastric acid can perfectly remove the seed's outer layer. Then, we have to extract the seed from the cat's body before its gastric acid can penetrate into the inner part of the seed."
Melody asked nervously.
"Doesn't that mean we have to kill the poor cat?"
"Oh, we're not that cruel. If we kill the cat then mice will run wild in our shop. More importantly, the composition of the cat's gastric juice will change following its death, which will destroy the seed. We only need to feed the cat some medicine that would irritate its stomach to let it vomit out or dispense out the processed seed as waste. Which route the seed takes to come out will depend on the cat's mood."
Sheyan's expression had turned extremely ugly by this point. On the other hand, Reef brimmed with schadenfreude as he smashed any false hope Sheyan may harbor.
"Excellent, Mr. Hants. I must applaud you for your vast knowledge! I have a question for you, just one - is the medicine prepared with the processed Athelas seed a consumable medicine or an applied ointment?"
The apprentice then gave an interesting answer.
"If the Black Breath affected the outside of the victims body, then applying the medicine on the skin would show better result. But if the Black Breath lied inside the body, then the medicine has to be consumed."
Old Steger only came back after 2 hours. His mood seemingly hadn't changed for the better after talking to the administrators. The poor apprentice experienced another wave of shouting.
With the price of 2 platinum coins, Old Steger found a mountain goat to "process" the Athelas seeds. Sheyan used the excuse of taking a look at other magic shops to escape the scene.
The potion produced was an extremely disgusting thick substance that was yellow-blackish in colour. The wisps of smoke escaping from the potion had a brownish-yellow colour to it. The smoke would obstinately circulate in the air for a long time without dispersing.
Old Steger vigorously stirred the potion until it no longer produced any smoke, then passed the potion to Sheyan. Sheyan could only shut his eyes tight and "drank" it. Rather than drinking the potion, it's more accurate to say Sheyan forced it into his stomach. He held his composure for 10 minutes before screaming miserably and retching out every last drop of the potion.
As if his disgusting vomit had a life of its own, it congealed into multiple bug-like creatures. The bugs jumped actively like they each possessed a soul. Old Steger was ready for this. He had prepared a wooden pail beforehand filled with privet leaves and oriental sweetgum flowers soaked in water. The creepy creatures hissed inside the water and dissipated into thin air.
Sheyan leaned on a chair and took in large gulps of breath. He only managed to compose himself after a long while. Even then, he looked like he had just recovered from from a severe illness. The good news was that the stubborn debuff on his body was finally removed. The treatment method of the old Hobbit was a bit disgusting but at least it was effective.
Franklin looked around in the shop and purchased some useful potions including some cold resistance potions, evocation strengthening potions, fountain of magic potions, etc. They were rather expensive, but Franklin didn't seem to be short on platinum coins. He even passed 3 potion bottles to Reef and Sheyan.
The first was an infrared vision potion. Upon consumption, one would possess a strong night vision comparable to a wild animal. The previous battle with the Ringwraith in the dark probably left a deep impression on Franklin.
The second potion was called [The Obstinacy of the Dwarves]. The main component of the potion was supposedly the beard of a Dwarf. It contained a mysterious power that would significantly improve the balance of the user. The user would find it hard to fall down even if their legs were attacked.
The last potion was something that was specifically brewed to combat against the power of darkness. It had a strange name called [Darkness Sponge]. Upon consumption, it would harden one's skin to absorb 50% of damage from dark energy. The duration of the potion was 24 hours, or until 1000 points of dark damage had been absorbed.
Sheyan and co. did not linger for long after their shopping spree. They headed directly to the Shire's teleport formation. As expected, the teleport formation was a money-swallowing device. It charged an astronomical fee of 100 platinum coins, each. There was even a footnote in the operational rules that stated: materials must be provided by the users themselves.
Fortunately for Sheyan, the doors of the Dwarven mining warehouses were kept open for him. Thus, he did not lack the materials required for the teleportation. The high quality gemstones from Moria guaranteed a smooth operation of the teleport formation. Even the waiting duration for the teleportation process was shortened by a few minutes.
Eriador presented a contrasting sight to the gentle and beautiful Shire.
If the Shire was like a smiling, innocent girl, then Eriador would be like a muscular man in animal skin, bellowing fiercely with his upper body bare!
This was a rough place. Even the air seemed to be screaming, and reeked of blood.
Only such a rough and brutal place could remain so close to the Dark Lord's territory. It provided endless valuable resources to the entire Middle Earth.
The ruler of this place was Lord Silon, who maintained the rarely seen slavery governing system on his land. Only such a tyrannical ruling method could maintain order in such a place. As Sheyan's group travelled along a road built from a kind of red stones unique to this area, they saw many things that couldn't be seen elsewhere.
For example, the patrol squad they encountered. The captain was a fully-armoured human, but following behind him were 10 enslaved half-orcs. These half-orc slaves were caught when they were young and were brought up here. They had bloodshot eyes, wore quality armours, and were equipped with axes and shields. If the squad were to meet with any danger, the captain would whip them, and the half-orcs would charge towards the enemy like pedigree hunting hounds.
From Sheyan's estimation, a fully-armoured half-orc should have almost the same battle capabilities as an Uruk-hai. At least, that would be the case in individual fights.
Despite having such a heavy atmosphere, Eriador had a point in common with the Shire. As long as one had the money, one could obtain what one desires.
It would take a while to reach the Dwarven outpost in the outskirts of Angmar. In addition, the land they pass through from now on would be as barren as the Gobi desert. They would need some local camels as to use as mounts. In fact, they needed 3 camels each. Not only could the camels act as transports, they could also provide food and water in an emergency.
There was also something else they direly needed:
They had to travel through the Gobi desert with no GPS, no compass, no aeroplane and no mobile phone. Furthermore, their destination was Angmar, which could be said to be the nest of demons. Getting lost was a scary prospect.
The only requirement for obtaining a good guide was enough money, which luckily they do not lack. But while they were waiting, Sheyan heard some whispers.
"Another batch that wants to look for the outpost of the Gray Dwarves?"
"A total of 5 caravans have already sent supplies of salt and ales to the Gray Dwarves this year. What else can they get from that bunch of stingy Dwarves?"
"But it's weird. It's been a while since the group of outsiders led by Samomo departed. They should have returned by now. I didn't hear of any sandstorms occuring lately. "
"That doesn't matter. Even a world-destroying sandstorm is nothing to Samomo."
For some reason, Sheyan's heart felt heavier after he heard this conversation. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. The only things he could do now were to choose the best camels and offer more money to their guide to make haste.
Therefore, after merely 30 hours, they arrived at the Dwarven outpost at the cost of 10 camels dying from exhaustion.
This was a strange, wind-eroded place. The wind blew through a large number of mushroom-shaped rocks, bringing with it the damp, dark breath from Angmar which contained the acrid stench of blood and rotten bodies.
In front of Sheyan was the bloody mess of a large-scale massacre!!!!
The target of his main mission, the Gray Dwarves residing on the outskirts of Angmar, were all killed!!!!