Chapter 188: Tranquil Grass
Betsy seemed to have made some kind of decision and said to Bai Yi, “Bai Yi, regardless of whether we manage to find anybody else this time, I have decided to enter LV2 and find a way to head to Australia. I want to see for myself, how is the human world like now? After entering LV2, we would have significant power to protect ourselves in human society, right? Perhaps we could use ourselves as an example and let the normal humans accept us.”
Bellamy stuck out her head from the side. “It’s the same for me!”
“OK.” Bai Yi nodded. They had to leave this place sooner or later; they couldn’t stay in the Devil Isles forever. However, the matter of how to get out first required a thorough plan. Anyway, they had to head to Lake Hāwea first and take a look; this was their short-term goal for now.
Lake Hāwea was located in the central area of the Southern Alps, and split them into east and west sections. Actually, there were two completely different lakes; it was just that there was a section of the two lakes where they were very close together, and it looked just like a single lake on the map. Hence, the two lakes were labeled on the map as a single lake. Lake Hāwea itself had been a popular tourist destination; the land was vast, there weren’t many people there, and the mountains among which the lake sat still retained a clear, natural scenery.
Initially, they didn’t think that they would see any evolved humans at Lake Hāwea, but when they reached this place the situation was more chaotic than they had imagined.
On the east side of Lake Hāwea, a water plant type vegetation had been discovered and was named Tranquil Grass. After a series of experiments by some evolved humans, they discovered that after consuming the fluid of the Tranquil Grass, lifeforms would automatically enter a strange state where they weren’t really awake or asleep. Their vital signs would become extremely stable, quiet, and peaceful. Most importantly, the success rate of metamorphosis would increase if they consumed the fluid of this Tranquil Grass before it.
Bai Yi’s group weren’t the only smart people around; the three idiots they'd picked up hadn't taken this piece of information seriously, but other people hadn't been so careless.
After the first batch of people had obtained the Tranquil Grass and a portion of them had safely entered LV2, this information slowly spread out and attracted a large number of evolved humans to this place.
Based on their estimates, there were somewhat more than 2,000 evolved humans here, with roughly 50 LV2s. These numbers were practically all the remaining evolved humans left now on the southern island of the Devil Isles. The remainder of people had all definitely died due to various kinds of dangers.
All the evolved humans were basically in the Hypersomnia Stage now, or at the boundary of metamorphosis, so all of them had gathered at this place after learning about Tranquil Grass.
However, even though they had all gathered here, nobody managed to obtain any of that Tranquil Grass. Tranquil Grass was a kind of special water plant that grew inside Lake Hāwea. The Tranquil Grass that could be picked on the sides of the lake had basically all been harvested already, and the Tranquil Grass at the center of the lake wasn't so easily acquired. It was needless to say how many dangers there were in the Devil Isles now, let alone what they might encounter diving into the lake that ranged from 5 to 100 meters in depth.
Unimaginably ferocious evolved lifeforms were hidden under the seemingly calm surface of the lake.
When Bai Yi’s team arrived at this place, they only attracted the attention of a small group of people. Lake Hāwea was still very big; the 2,000 plus people were split into more than 100 teams of varying sizes, all stationed at different locations. They were all looking for an opportunity to see if they could acquire some Tranquil Grass from inside the lake, and successfully undergo metamorphosis to enter LV2.
When Bai Yi’s team came to the southernmost edge of the lake, they encountered another small team by chance. At the start, they just gave basic greetings to each other; there already weren’t many evolved humans left, so they would normally all be friendly to each other as long as there weren’t any feuds between them. However, after giving their greetings, this group of people realized with a shock that this was actually Bai Yi’s team.
Bai Yi’s team stopped at Gladstone on the southernmost edge of Lake Hāwea, and the news of Bai Yi’s appearance very quickly spread to all the remaining teams by the lake. Of course, even if they knew, all of them basically only came to say hi to Bai Yi’s team. Nobody was more noble or valuable than anybody else anymore; though Bai Yi still had a decent reputation among evolved humans now, nobody would come up to him desperately trying to join his team.
After tidying up a place for them to settle down, Bai Yi’s team also started to study this rumored Tranquil Grass.
Bai Yi gathered everyone together. “From the information gathered from other people, the Tranquil Grass has the effect of increasing the success rate of metamorphosis. The exact effect is unclear, but we can see from the messy information around that Tranquil Grass causes evolved lifeforms to enter a mysterious enlightened state. In that kind of state, the success rate of metamorphosis increases greatly, and this is also the source of Tranquil Grass’s name.”
“Honestly speaking, other than Salva and his team, I’m not worried about whether the rest of you could undergo metamorphosis successfully. However, the reason why we came out here was to look for a way to make up for any deficiencies, so as to undergo a perfect metamorphosis, and this Tranquil Grass might be an opportunity.” Bai Yi started discussing the matter with everyone after settling all of them down.
“I’m quite interested in a plant like this. Actually, I’ve been trying to concoct a kind of potion that can increase the success rate of metamorphosis as well, but you guys already know that progress has been slow. This Tranquil Grass that we've found this time might be a chance,” Nancy said, her body language carrying maturity and intelligence.
“But from the experiences of other people, it’s extremely difficult to harvest this Tranquil Grass,” Betsy said as well.
All of them heard this and they immediately looked around at each other. The Tranquil Grass grew in the heart of the lake, so whoever went to pick this grass must be both able and proficient at swimming. Among everyone, the only one who fused with some aquatic creature’s genes had been Woolf with an alligator. Staring at Woolf, who looked like a fat dragon now, all of them felt doubtful of whether Woolf really could swim in the water.
“Is it me?” Woolf was still so clueless.
Bellamy walked in front of Woolf and acted familiar with him, trying to pat his shoulder. “Of course it’s you; you’re the only one on the team who fused with the genes of an animal that could even barely be considered an aquatic creature. Also, you already entered LV2; haven't you thought that you are very awesome recently? We’ll leave the mission of picking the Tranquil Grass to you then!” However, even sitting down, Woolf was still much taller than Bellamy. She got up on her tiptoes and tried to reach Woolf’s shoulder, but couldn’t, making all of them feel like laughing.
Everyone immediately started laughing looking at Bellamy’s antics.
“Woolf, can you move about freely in the water?” Bai Yi asked.
Woolf shook his head. “I’ve never tried before.” So far, other than bathing, they had never moved around or battled in deep water before. Even during the period of time they spent fixing the ship in Wellington, they hadn’t gone into the sea either, because it was really too dangerous.
“Let’s do this then: we’ll find a shallow place and see how good each of us is in the water. Remember, we aren’t playing around; this is to let us test if we are able to move and fight underwater,” Bai Yi said.
“Understood!” Woolf immediately said.
Before long, on the second day, they found a suitable place right beside Lake Hāwea. This was a big depression in the ground roughly 30 meters wide and 100 meters long, and the depth ranged from one to seven meters. Other people had searched this place long ago, and other than a bunch of random aquatic perennial plants, nobody had found anything like Tranquil Grass growing here. However, it happened to be suitable for Bai Yi’s team to test their swimming abilities.
“Remember, the most important thing in the water is to remain calm because humans aren’t suited to live in water. A lot of the time we start panicking when we meet with danger and struggle needlessly, this is the biggest reason for drowning... you bunch of scoundrels!” Bai Yi still wanted to give them some warnings, but the moment they came to the body of water, all of them immediately jumped into it along with Woolf and started playing around.
Bai Yi suddenly felt like a parent, and the rest of his team were disobedient little kids.
“Daddy, I want to go down too!” Momo looked at Bai Yi with excitement in her eyes. Momo had still been too young way back when, so although Bai Yi had brought her to the beach a few times, she had never really played in the water before. He hadn't been able to be at ease since she wasn't even five years old then, so the most he had allowed Momo to do back then was to build sandcastles.
“Go, just be careful!” Bai Yi was already at his wit’s end with this bunch of idiots. Under the leadership of Woolf, they would probably treat this water test as a play session.
“Daddy’s the best!” After hearing Bai Yi’s words, Momo immediately hugged him and gave him a kiss before running toward the small, hastily constructed wooden house by the side of the depression. Although they had all changed to look like monsters, there were still a few girls on the team, and they had made a few sets of underwear for themselves. And this time, they had even used some monster skins to make some swimsuits for themselves too.
After a while, Bai Yi was stunned when he saw the few girls come out. Girls really had a natural ability to dress themselves up, and wearing their monster skin swimsuits, the few girls looked to have a kind of wild charm now. Other than the swimsuit on Momo’s body, she also had a few fluffy white rings on her wrists and ankles, making her appear very adorable.
However... Momo actually still carried Black Underworld with her at this time. He stared at the black sword being carried by Momo on her back, which wasn’t much smaller than her... why did it look so out of sorts?
“Bai Yi, can you talk to Momo? How is she going to swim carrying Black Underworld at a time like this?”
“It’s not safe in the lake; I must have my weapon with me,” Momo said seriously. She had not experienced the kind of upbringing that a normal child should have. Being a child that grew up in the Devil Isles, her sense of caution was even more severe than Betsy's or Nancy's, both of whom had grown up in peaceful times.
“If it’s for playing, carrying the black sword really isn’t too suitable. Take this one instead,” Bai Yi said, and he passed over a short knife that was somewhat more than 20 centimeters long. Two ropes were connected to the knife, and she could tie it horizontally behind her back. Momo looked at the short knife and her black sword, before finally nodding and exchanging the latter for the former.
Betsy and Nancy saw the interaction between Bai Yi and Momo and facepalmed. “This father and daughter pair is really beyond any cure!”
Editor's Notes:Eight kilometers west of Lake Hāwea is a separate lake, Lake Wanaka. At their closest point (a ridge called The Neck), they're only one kilometer apart.