121 The Wasteland World - Essence of Corruption

    The old man looked at Daniel and at the fruit with a fascinated expression.

    Due to the smell, the bright colors, and the plump and delicious appearance, he could not help but swallow a big mouthful of saliva.

    Once Daniel finished eating the fruit, he put the pit into his mouth, and crashed it with his teeth, as if he was an impatient kid unwilling to wait for the candy to melt in his mouth.

    "K'ah harujia hai?" said the old man while indicating at his own mouth.

    A slight smile appeared on Daniel's face. He made another fruit appear in his hand.. Then, he sliced a small piece of it, and threw it through the gate's bars with way more power than needed.

    The old man's movements were instantaneous.

    He stretched his right arm and grabbed the piece of fruit that was flying in the air at high speed. He then smelled it, ran his fingers over it, felt its juicy consistency.. And finally, put it in his mouth.

    The moment the old man tasted the fruit, his eyes opened wide in delight.

    His following reaction was similar to that of a kid that had tasted sugar for the first time in his life.

    He brushed his white hair in disbelief, and turned to look at Daniel as if he had been just slapped out of the blue.

    With visible excitement, the old man opened the cage, entered it, and then sat in front of Daniel.

    From the old man's quick movements, Daniel had guessed that this gracile-looking old man was nowhere nearly as week as he appeared to be. In fact, he seemed to be stronger than the muscular man himself, which explained his complete lack of worry when approaching him.

    The old man looked at Daniel with stupor, then, he stretched his hand towards him.

    From the drool that threatened to drip down the corners of the old man's mouth, and the sight of his tongue moving over his lip continuously, Daniel could guess what the old man wanted.

    He made the rest of the previously cut fruit appear in his hand once again, but just as he was about to put it on the old man's palm, he made it disappear once again.

    The old man looked at Daniel in confusion.

    With the old man's attention on him, Daniel quickly indicated at one of the books which he had seen on the table in the left side of the room.

    Before Daniel could even notice his movement, the old man had left the cage, approached the table, grabbed a book, moved back into the cage, and closed the gate behind him.

    Daniel was able to feel his movements with his surrounding awareness, but his speed was so fast, that he wasn't able to follow it with his own eyes.

    The old man gave the book to Daniel without even thinking about it, but instead of accepting it, Daniel started to gesture in response.

    He made different and consequential signs. One for opening the book, one for looking at the words, and one for reading them.

    Daniel's objective was to associate the pronunciation with the symbol.

    He had already memorized the symbols which composed this human-like race's alphabet, but the book couldn't teach him the pronunciation.

    While Daniel attempted to give indications to the old man, he noticed that the symbols were slightly different from the ones he had read in the bookstore.

    They were still similar, but also presented clear and frequent changes.

    He had seen this sort of changes between the ancient and modern versions of a human's language during his studies in the library of his castle.. But this level of evolution of language, was only something that he had seen in scriptures thousands of years older from their modern versions.. Not just four, like he had guessed form the state of the abandoned city.

    For the following hour, Daniel would indicate a symbol he wanted to know how to pronounce, and the man would pronounce it.

    Every now and then the old man would get tired of it, but whenever Daniel thought he was about to leave, he would give him another piece of fruit.

    After two full hours, Daniel was starting to have difficulties in finding symbols whose pronunciation he hadn't heard yet, and soon enough, the old man finished pronouncing each and every symbol contained within the book.

    Suddenly, he seemed to remember something important. He got up on his feet, and as he was about to dash out of Daniel's cell, a woman's shout could be heard from within the dark corridor. It said "Jiguah!"

    As the man heard the woman's voice, he turned to look back at Daniel, and waved his hand in salutation.

    Then, he disappeared from the room before a middle aged woman barged in with a furious expression. "JIGUAH!!" She shouted once again.

    This woman had common feature, and didn't appear beautiful to Daniel's standards. She was more heavily clothed when compared to the hunters, and the amount of black spots on her body was similar to that of the muscular man.

    If Daniel had to guess, he would say that she seemed to be angry at the old man for disappearing before she could scold him.

    She took a couple of minutes to calm down, then, she wore her most serious expression, and started to observe Daniel through the bars of the cell.

    In Daniel's hands, she saw one of her books. He was holding it opened on his legs, and was pointing at each symbol with his index while reading it out loud.

    The woman looked at Daniel with interest. Then, she said "K'joah nar nahaj'ha?"

    Daniel looked back at her, but didn't answer.

    Noticing the lack of response, the woman pointed at her mouth, then at her ears, and finally, at her head. Her meaning was clear.. She meant "Can you understand?"

    Daniel shook his head in response.

    The middle aged woman crossed her arms and observed Daniel for a few minutes. Then, the two started to communicate through the use of signs.

    At some point during this slow conversation, Daniel had asked the woman to talk while gesticulating. This had confused her, but only for the first couple of hours.

    During the following two hours of conversation, the woman and Daniel talked about where he came from, what was the strange energy contained in his body, and about something that Daniel believed to be one of the important information he had obtained since entering this world.

    Through a series of seemingly random signals, the woman had asked him how did he manage to avoid contamination.

    Daniel didn't answer at first, but then, as the woman was about to leave, she heard Daniel's voice from behind say in her language.

    "Whhat do yuu meam with 'Contraminattion'.."?

    The woman turned to look at Daniel with a dumbfounded expression.

    What prevented her from thinking that Daniel was simply pretending not to be able to talk their language, was the fact that he hadn't spoken a single word that she hadn't pronounced during the last couple of hours of conversation.

    "Do you understand me now?" Asked the middle aged woman without making gestures.

    In response, Daniel looked back at her, and in her language, he said "Jhust a bith.."

    The woman couldn't help but smile at Daniel's incredible ability of comprehension. From knowing nothing at all, to being able to talk like a four year old kid in the span of two hours, was a huge feat of intelligence.

    During the next couple of days, Daniel learned a great deal of the woman's culture.

    Apparently, their world was not different from Daniel's world of origin, once.. before it became like this.

    According to the woman's knowledge regarding her world's history.. She knew that her race had its own unique power which they called 'Aura'.

    The aura was directly connected to their life, and by 'cultivating' it, they would have a chance to become more powerful, and even extend their lifespan of hundreds of years.

    Unfortunately, when their civilization was at the peak of its power.. A group of warriors with magical powers had appeared.

    This group of overwhelmingly powerful mages started to roam their world, slaughtering and destroying anything that was in their path.. Causing hundreds of millions, if not billions of deaths.

    After years of roaming their world without anyone that could stop them, the strongest warriors of their time had decided to form a united front against them, in hope that together, they would be able to put an end to the atrocities they caused.

    The plan worked.

    Despite the decimation of the world's strongest experts, in the end, the group of mages were slaughtered once and for all.

    Unfortunately for their race, that was the beginning of the end for them.

    Translating what Daniel had heard into his own comprehension, he had more or less understood what had happened next.

    Basically, the impressive amount of death caused by the group of mages had overcharged the world with more death essence than necessary.

    After a critical point had been reached, various portals had opened all around the wasteland world, and from these portals, the monsters monsters came out.

    These monsters emanated a feeling of death, and whatever they touched, would end up being devoured by their death-like power.

    Of course, Daniel knew much more about essence than the woman did.

    He knew that the essence that corrupted everything was not essence of death. Death essence was calm, peaceful, and was only able to devour life essence from living beings like plants, trees, human and beasts.

    What had turned those beasts into monsters, and had now changed the inhabitants 'aura' into death-like essence, was something different.

    In order to avoid confusion, Daniel had refer to this essence as 'essence of corruption'.

    Daniel could clearly feel that the aura of the woman's race was extremely different from ki, as ki wasn't enough to bring people over the ninth stage of martial cultivation, nor could it increase a person's life span.

    Another information that Daniel had obtained from the woman, was that the black spots on the people's body indicated their "cultivation" or level of corruption.

    What once brought them power and longevity, had been corrupted.

    Their corrupted aura was created by their body, just like ki was, but they increased in power in a way much more similar to Daniel's original world' ranked beasts, than human. They did not have beast cores, but by feeding off of other types of powers contained, for example, in the monter's flesh, they would be able to refill their internal storage of aura, and use it when they needed it.

    Their storage of aura would slowly get used to the limited amount of power, and it would slowly increase with time.

    This is how the natives of this world cultivated.

    Unfortunately, the monsters that had arrived from the portals thousands of years ago, had corrupted everything in the world.. Daniel could feel it.

    Of one thing Daniel was sure. There was no connection to the spiritual plain whatsoever in this world. Otherwise, people would have sooner or later found a way to cultivate their spirits.

    After two days of conversation, Daniel had become fully capable of talking the language of his captors.

    He had been given books to read, and food to eat, but he refused to touch any of the food he was given, as he didn't wish to be corrupted by it.

    After a week of imprisonment, Daniel had finally learned what the woman's job was in their community.

    She was what in her world would be called an alchemist, and studied the monster, their essence, and tried to find ways to slow, or possibly remove, the corruption contained in their food.

    The corruption did not prevent people or monsters from procreating, and newborn babies or beasts weren't corrupted since birth, as corruption regarded the essence contained in the food and not the meat itself.

    Therefore, when a baby was born, the level of corruption contained in his or her body would be only a small portion of that contained in the food the mother had consumed during her pregnancy.
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