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Kneel to Me

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Chapter 53: Second Arc [16]

The bat cave was damp and chilly, with an unpleasant smell. Evans stepped inside, the ground was so unusually soft that his shoes immediately sank in.

Song Juyao: "Come out, it's full of shit."

Hundreds of bats were sleeping hanging upside down from the cave ceiling. Only during excretion would they flip over, then hung again after relieving themselves, leaving the ground covered full of their feces.

Evans immediately retracted his foot as if he had stepped on a cockroach, vigorously grinding and kicking on the ground, his expression distorted with extreme disgust.

Song Juyao, feeling a bit helpless, tried to ease Evans' discomfort. "Bat guano (droppings), after processing, becomes a precious traditional Chinese medicine called 'Night Brightness Sand'. It can be used to treat malaria, night blindness, cataracts, corneal damage, etc. It's a valuable resource for us now. The bat guano ferments in their nests, producing natural nitric acid. Guano here can extract more nitric acid than our nitrate soil."

[T/N: 夜明砂 - yè míng shā - Ecrementum Vespertilionis Murini (Pharmaceutical Name) - Blood-Invigorating and Stasis-Removing Herbs. The Chinese Herb Ye Ming Sha is the dried excrement from the Asian parti-colored bat (Vesperlitis superans Thomas; syn. Vespertilio sinensis Peters). The droppings are wrapped in a cheesecloth and decocted for use as medicine. It is used in cases of visual obstruction, night blindness, and cataracts to improve vision (only when blood stasis is present). Contraindicated for eye disorders without blood stasis as a component of the pattern diagnosis. It is added to formulas with other qi and blood activating herbs to disperse bruises and resolve blood stasis.]

And what is one of the great uses of nitric acid?

—"To kill that bear, we need powerful weapons. We can't make guns, but we can create something else." Last night, Song Juyao shared her plan with her partners .

"What?" The group of people couldn't help but huddle in their heads together, as if they were working on some secret plan.

"The great invention of mankind—gunpowder."

"Gunpowder?!" Li Wenling and others were shocked. "You? Gunpowder?? Wait, gunpowder???"

The viewers in the live broadcast room were also dumbfounded, both in the real and virtual worlds.

??? Isn't this a bit too hardcore? We thought you were going to dig traps or something, but you were actually talking about making gunpowder???

Song Juyao seemed oblivious to their shock and explained, "If we want to create an explosion, it's very simple. White granulated sugar and toilet cleaner or powdered glass bottles can be used. But we need something more powerful. The villa doesn't have much to work with, so we can only gather materials from nature to make gunpowder..."

"No, can we really make gunpowder?" Li Wenling asked. As an entertainer, she couldn't fathom herself creating such a lethal weapon; it felt surreal.

Song Juyao said: "Yes, as long as we can get nitric acid, making gunpowder is quite simple. Nature has given us many gifts, and the solutions to all difficulties already exist within it. Seashells on the beach, nitrate soil in the forest, bat guano in the bat cave, ashes from burned grass and wood - these are all things that can obtain saltpeter. There is even sulfur in the southeast coastal areas. You see, it has already given us everything we need."

"But we need a large quantity, and the bear may not give us much time to produce gunpowder. So tomorrow, we need to act separately."

"Ling-jie, you and brother-in-law go to the beach to collect seashells; so you can come back early to take care of Meng Cong. Stanley, the southeast coast is a volcanic plain, where you can find sulfur, but it's a bit far. Can I trouble you to make a run for it? Evans, Li Dada, and I will go to the forest to dig nitrate soil and look for any bat caves while we're there."

Song Juyao methodically assigned tasks in a calm and gentle tone, instilling a deep sense of trust in everyone and unconsciously arousing a sense of anticipation and hope that she would lead them out of the shadows.

They had no objections. Song Juyao's distribution was very reasonable. Li Wenling and her husband needed to come back to take care of Meng Cong; Stanley had the best physical strength among all of them and could go to the distant southeast coast. Song Juyao and Evans, along with Li Dada, had more tasks to do. After returning, they also had to extract sugar from the wine, and the small amount of sugar in the villa's kitchen was simply insufficient.

Fortunately, this villa had a small wine cellar.

The next day, they began their assigned tasks according to Song Juyao's plan.

While the three of them were shoveling shit in the Bat Cave, in the direction of the southeast coast of the Survival Island Paradise –

Following Song Juyao's instructions, Stanley set off toward the southeast with Addison, finally reaching the volcanic plain zone.

The air became scorching hot, with a smell of sulfur dioxide permeating everywhere. White smoke billowed from cracks between black rock layers, with occasional glimpses of red lava through the fissures.

Wearing the simple charcoal-made gas masks Song Juyao had hastily made for them last night to prevent the high concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air from poisoning them, the father and son carefully trekked through the volcanic plain area. Then they found hills where some vegetation began to appear, and finally discovered a small hot spring bubbling in the mountains.

"Haha!" Stanley showed a victorious expression; he was quite worried that he wouldn't be able to complete the task assigned by Song Juyao. Along the way, he was also concerned that he might have gone the wrong direction. Now it seemed he hadn't. He wiped the sweat off his rugged face; his whole body was already drenched, and his bulging muscles were glistening with sweat.

Addison also rolled up his sleeves to wipe the sweat off his slender face; this trip had the exercise amount of the past two months combined.

After the two drank some water to replenish their fluids and rested for a while, they knelt down and took out small hoes to begin digging for sulfur.

[There's actually a volcanic plain! How did Song Juyao discover it?]

[Yesterday when Song Juyao told Stanley and Addison to come here for sulfur, I was completely puzzled. How did she know there's a volcano in that direction?]

[Was it because her mini probe detected sulfur dioxide in the air?]

[Just relying on the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air can't determine the presence of a volcano, right? The volcanic plain is quite far from the glass villa base; Stanley and his son took a whole morning to get there. So, when sulfur dioxide drifted over, the concentration must have been minimal.]

[So curious!]

Knowing the location of the beach through rivers and mangroves was understandable, but how did she know there was a volcano in a place she hadn't been to? They had been watching the livestream and they were sure that Song Juyao and Evans hadn't been to the southeast coast.

Fortunately, they were not the only ones who were curious.

Li Dada was also curious. After digging nitrate soil and bat guano, as the three of them made their way back to the stronghold, she asked–

"Are there volcanoes on the island?"

"Yes. Didn't we all see it?" Song Juyao walked in front, sweeping the path with a tree branch to prevent snakes from hiding under the fallen leaves.

Li Dada:??? You're talking nonsense, I didn't see anything like that.

Song Juyao was stunned for a moment, then explained, "When you come this way by helicopter, didn't we see the entire island? The southeast coast was almost completely barren, and large amounts of white smoke kept billowing out from where the sea meets the coast. That's the hydrochloric acid cloud produced by the magma flowing into the sea and coming into contact with seawater. The hydrochloric acid cloud causes acid rain in that area, making it difficult for plants to grow."

The livestream had started when they were still in the helicopter. Everyone, including the audience in both the virtual and real worlds, could see the island's shape from a bird's-eye view. They also saw the white smoke rising in the direction Song Juyao mentioned. However, almost no one bothered to think about what it was, or perhaps they didn't even notice.

[Oh... is this the difference between geniuses who can enter Horace University and us ordinary folks??]

[So, from the beginning, she already had a preliminary understanding of the structure of this island.]

[I kneel down]

[The way she hesitated just now, it's like a genius being asked a simple question like what's one plus one. She was surprised that someone wouldn't even know this, and I feel like my knees just took an arrow. Qaq]

[Is this the world of the strong?]

Meanwhile, on the beach.

Li Wenling and her husband, along with Pan Yue, had also collected a lot of seashells. Song Juyao said the more, the better; so each person not  only filled a basket but also stuffed the pockets in their clothes as well. On the way back, they took breaks, sweating profusely.

They were also afraid they might suddenly encounter a bear. However, on the one hand, they trusted Song Juyao–if she said they wouldn't encounter a bear, they believed her. On the other hand, thinking of Meng Cong still in bed at the villa, their strong determination to protect the child gave them the courage to step out of that fragile protective place and walk into the outside world.

Song Juyao's group proceeded with their work methodically.

While inside the glass villa outpost, there was chaos.

Chen Ruo had just been torn off an arm, his shoulder bone shattered. Yet he still had not passed out in shock and remained conscious, writhing in agony and screaming miserably, almost rolling on the ground. Blood gushed relentlessly from his severed arm, quickly staining the entire hall floor red.

"Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!"

"Ahhhhhhhh what should we do? What should we do?" The others were also scared half to death. They didn't have a doctor here, and everyone was witnessing such a situation for the first time. Moreover, there was also the incident of Chang Youqing being carried away by the bear. Everyone's minds were blank, and they had no idea what to do.

Only Wen Yingting was somewhat calmer.

"Quick, stop the bleeding first, use something to plug it..." But even Wen Yingting's calmness had its limits. His face was also pale, and his hands were still trembling slightly. Looking at the pile of medicines in the first aid kit, he simply didn't know what to use for Chen Ruo.

Wen Zhulian was scared out of her wits. With a lingering fear, she looked at Wei Yan. Although they were real life NPCs, and if they died, they would just go back to the real world, but this kind of death was too terrifying! This Fanxing group was really too ruthless!

Chen Ruo screamed in agony: "Ahhh find Song Juyao, quickly find Song Juyao to save me ahhh Song Juyao..."

"Yes! Find Song Juyao!"

"But the question is where to find her, she left early in the morning!"

"Ahhhh, I should have believed her. If only we had believed her …the bear was really brought here by us!" Someone collapsed in fear, clutching his head in despair.

"Whether we believed it or not, would it make a difference? The bear would still show up! Even if Song Juyao was here today, the situation wouldn't have changed!"

"We clearly saw that river, and we also saw the traces left by them tying up rafts. We should have crossed the river like they did..."

"Why didn't Song Juyao leave us a note? If she had said it earlier, we wouldn't have brought the bear here..."

Intense fear made them start to break down and look for a vent, pointing fingers to blame for their mistakes.

[I can't believe it. These people brought trouble on themselves and now they're blaming Song Juyao for not leaving a note.]

[It's so tragic. Song Juyao also really...considered so much, but she happened to overlook the possibility that they might attract the bear. If only she had left a note, today's incident might not have happened.]

[Does Song Juyao have an obligation to leave them a note? Speaking of which, they are the ones causing harm. They didn't come here for the base in the first place; they came for the protection of Song Juyao, the wilderness survival expert. So, Song Juyao and her team are the real victims, caught up in their mess.]

[Idiots! Wanting someone's protection, yet having this attitude. They deserve to be bear's food.]

"It can't go on like this, your credibility..." Wei Yan  whispered in Wen Zhulian's ear. Since everyone was calling for Song Juyao, it was evident that after this incident, Song Juyao's credibility would greatly increase among them, while Wen Zhulian's would naturally decline.

After hearing this, Wen Zhulian felt a strong sense of crisis in her heart. She immediately stood up.

"I-I'll go find Juyao, Chen Ruo, everyone, wait for me!"

Anyway, she wouldn't really die, and the bear had just dragged off Chang Youqing and was scared away by Wen Yingting, so it shouldn't come back to hunt so soon.

Sure enough, as soon as Wen Zhulian spoke out, everyone looked at her with shock and gratitude. Even Chen Ruo, who was on the verge of fainting from the pain, looked at her in surprise.

"Zhuzhu!" Wen Guohua immediately rebuked out in shock. They didn't know where the bear was hiding, and she wanted to go out and find Song Juyao!

"Zhuzhu, what are you babbling about?" Wen Yingting also spoke out, "Do you know where to find Song Juyao?!"

"I don't know, but I can go and find out. I know Sister Ling and the others are on the beach. I can ask them. I can't just watch Chen Ruo suffer like this and do nothing!" Wen Zhulian firmly stated and rushed out.

Wen Yingting couldn't stop her, so he hurriedly picked up the fire extinguisher in a hurry and rushed out.

"We can't let Zhu Zhu act alone. I'm going too!"

"I'll join you." Two of Chen Ruo's bandmates also followed.

[Wen Zhulian is a good person.]

[Don't know why, but something feels off. Isn't she a bit too much of the Holy Mother?]

[A surge of hot blood to the head, rushing out empty-handed... Is she brave or foolish, lacking in strategy?]

[Are you guys crazy? Is it wrong for people to be kind? Zhuzhu is naturally a kind person. Isn't taking action better than standing by and doing nothing?]

[Ai, Zhuzhu is too kind. She should take better care of herself.]

Not long after Wen Zhulian ran out, she met the three who had returned after collecting seashells.

Although Li Wenling currently disliked the Wen family, upon hearing that the bear had really appeared and someone was injured, she didn't have the time to hold grudges. She pointed in a general direction and watched the three run inside.

"At least she still has a bit of a conscience," Li Wenling said, then paused, furrowing her brows.

The Wen family couldn't be said to have no conscience, but upon careful thought, their conscience didn't seem to be half as useful, either they were getting people killed, or patching things up after the fact, but the harm was already done. Those people in the villa were on Wen Zhulian's side, if Wen Zhulian had chosen to believe in Song Juyao yesterday, perhaps today's incident could have been avoided.

Wen Zhulian's group was relatively lucky; they didn't encounter the bear on the way and successfully found Song Juyao.

Song Juyao spotted an avocado tree laden with lush, nutritious avocados. In the wilderness, how could you pass up such a good thing? Besides, there were no such things in the refrigerator in the villa and with so many people, food in the refrigerator was about to run out.

Obviously, Fanxing Group had no intention of letting them stay at the base indefinitely.

When they arrived, Song Juyao had just fashioned a makeshift avocado picking tool—a long branch with a basket attached at the end. By reaching up and twisting, she could pluck avocados from the high branches.

"Juyao!" Wen Zhulian ran over, and grabbed Song Juyao's hand, trying to pull her back in a hurry. Song Juyao almost tripped, and the avocados she had just picked fell to the ground.

"What are you doing?" Evans pushed Wen Zhulian away.

Wen Zhulian gasped and said, "Juyao, you quickly go back, there is no time, something has happened. The bear really appeared, it took away senior Chang Youqing and Chen Ruo got his arm torn off. We don't know what to do, you quickly go back to save him......"

Song Juyao frowned slightly, "When did this happen?"

Wen Yingting looked at his watch, "About two hours ago."

"Two hours ago?" Song Juyao shook her head and crouched down to pick up the fallen avocados. "If it happened two hours ago, there's no need to hurry."

"What?" Wen Zhulian's heart was delighted, but appeared extremely anxious. "Juyao, what do you mean?"

"It's been two hours, which means Chen Ruo now has only two outcomes. One is that he bled too much and died. The other is that he has successfully stopped the bleeding and survived. There is no other possibility. Regardless of the result, now rushing back in haste won't make any difference."

"Song Juyao!" Wen Zhulian reacted as if she had heard something unimaginable. "How can you be so cold-blooded!? One person was eaten, another is seriously injured, how can you analyze this so calmly? How can you be so certain? What if? For that one-in-a-million chance, shouldn't you be more careful? isn't it too reckless not to act? Are these fruits…. and soil more important than a life?!"

"Right, how can you be like this?" The other two immediately spoke out in dissatisfaction.

As soon as the contradiction arose, whether in the virtual world or the real-world live chat, different opinions emerged, leading to arguments. Some thought Wen Zhulian was right, and Song Juyao was indeed too calm and cold-blooded. Others believed Song Juyao was correct. She wasn't a surgeon, what's the use of rushing back? And in such a dire situation of survival, without calmness, they might all die together.

[Those supporting Wen Zhulian should really think about who caused trouble for whom.]

[Exactly, didn't Song Juyao advise them before to think in the worst possible direction? They didn't believe her, and now they're reaping what they sowed.]

[Really good at moral blackmailing. Wen Pig and her supporters are really disgusting.]

[Where did Zhuzhu go wrong? What's wrong with giving up a few fruits and going back quickly for that one-in-a-million chance? Is a handful of avocados more important than a life?]

Seemingly unable to tolerate Song Juyao's heartless demeanor, Wen Zhulian turned and ran away in tears. The other two immediately glared at Song Juyao, saying, "We really didn't misjudge you," before following Wen Zhulian.

Wen Yingting gave Song Juyao a complicated look and hurriedly turned to follow.

"Wen Yingting." Song Juyao, however, suddenly called out to him.

Wen Yingting's heart skipped a beat as he looked at Song Juyao.

"Normally bears will hide when they hear noises, but this bear is into eating people, people are prey in its eyes, so making noise will attract its attention instead, you guys need to act a little quieter."

"Ordinary bears will avoid noisy sounds, but this bear has developed a taste for eating people. In its eyes, humans are prey. So making sounds will actually attract its attention. You should act quietly."

"Don't jinx us, you're the ones who will encounter the bear!" The person in front immediately turned around and spat angrily.

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