Release that Witch Chapter 830
As what the Ice Witch had written in her report, the bug, which resembled a hairless spider or an ant with a big belly, had a slim upper body with projected joints and a prodigious lower body almost as big as a grown man's torso.
It was evident that this was not the largest size the bug could grow up to, for, to stuff a Mad Demon into its abdomen required its belly to swell out to be at least two or three times its normal size. Based on the "photographs" taken at the scene, when the bug had a Mad Demon inside its body, it would tuck its head into the ground, leaving its swollen belly up in the air. Therefore, it looked like a huge, fully-grown egg at the first glance.
"Did you kill it?" Phyllis asked.
"That'll save us some trouble. It wasn't aggressive, but it ran pretty fast." With these words, Agatha thrust the long sword made of ice into the bug's belly.
Some stinky, milky-white liquid instantly gushed out.
Agatha said, "The slime can be used as a preservative. It's fluid under normal conditions, but it'll slowly solidify and turn into something like egg white as time goes by."
"And... are we going to eat it?" Faldi frowned.
Agatha shook her head. "I haven't eaten it, but I guess it won't be very tasty. The key lies in another liquid in its body."
This time, after spending seven or eight minutes flaying the bug's back, Agatha took out a slimy green organ.
"It looks like a gallbladder." Phyllis poked out her head in excitement.
"But it isn't gall in here." Agatha carefully cut it open and added two drops of dark green liquid to the slimes on the ground, after which, she produced two ice pitons and quickly mixed the two liquids together. "What comes next is the key."
Roland held his breath, watching the "preservative solution" slowly change.
Before long, the liquid gradually thickened and the Ice Witch's movement slowed down. In about two or three minutes, the ice pitons were stuck in the slimes as if it was glued to something.
Roland stuck out his fingers and pressed the liquid surface, only to find that the slimes had turned into a gel-like substance. Although it felt soft, he could only make a dent of several millimeters in it.
Phyllis exclaimed in surprise, "This is..."
"Biological rubber," Roland answered excitedly. "This is what made Fran get stuck in there."
Roland had noticed in Agatha's first report the peculiar feature of the bugs down the ruin. He had thought it was similar to spiders' cobwebs, but after he had read subsequent reports, he had found the solidified slimes were as flexible and tough as rubber. It could not only cling to the surface of an object but could be also molded into various shapes. These two properties made it highly practical.
Indeed, Roland had been asking people to look for rubber plants. He believed once he found a sample, Leaf could enhance it and subsequently turn it into high-yield crops that could grow on a mass scale. Unfortunately, his search for either rubber trees or rubber grass was fruitless. Nobody, not even people from the Kingdom of Dawn, which was famous for its diverse species, had heard of such plants. As a result, he had to rely on Soraya's ability to produce elastic materials.
The lack of natural elastic materials greatly limited the productivity of Neverwinter.
With more new machine tools being invested in production and a substantial increase in the plant's productivity and processing level, the deficiency in rubbers had become a prominent problem. Roland knew very well that rubber, which could be both natural and artificial, was simply a generalized term for all elastic materials. Nevertheless, he had no knowledge of specific rubber production procedures.
While Roland was suspecting that there were probably no rubber plants in this world, the reports on the exploration of the ruin at the snow mountain came to him as a pleasant surprise.
That was why he decided to cultivate these mutated creatures brought by monsters in the deep ocean despite potential risks.
Now that he had seen the bug in person, he knew that he had made the right decision.
Roland did not care much about the lasting power of the solidified slimes. As long as the material could seal and fasten moving parts, it could veritably be classified as rubber.
Agatha said slowly, "After reviewing the scene reconstructed by Summer, we found it was exactly those bugs that made Fran glued to the hole. They tied her tight with a net of slimes that streamed from their tails. However, the liquid in their belly alone won't solidify. Only when it's mixed with the liquid in the organ at the back will it become sticky and gooey. If Sylvie didn't find Fran with the Eye of Magic, we would have looked for her for another 10 to 15 days."
Pasha nodded. "I see. This is a really good material for making fishing nets and ropes."
Alethea retorted flatly, "Maybe good for fishing nets but not for ropes. It's too soft and stretchy. Nobody will like a rope that stretches infinitely. Plus, I don't think our learned mortal king would bring these unknown bugs to Neverwinter just to have some more salted fish." She paused for a second and then turned to Roland. "No matter what crazy research you want to conduct, don't forget that now you're representing parties other than Graycastle."
Her comment stunned Roland for a second. Roland had never expected that Alethea, who had been brooding on him being the sole leader of the united front, would understand his research intention, and certainly had never expected her to say something that, in a sense, acknowledged his leadership.
At this thought, Roland managed a smile. "Of course. If everything goes well, you'll soon see its wide variety of uses in the near future."
Pasha asked, "By the way, how do we make the bugs eject slimes without the monster that controlled them? We can't kill them every time, can we?"
Agatha put the organ into a leather bag and wiped her hands. "This is what we're going to research later. If nothing else works, we'll have to grow them on a mass scale."
Apart from the "rubber worm", Roland also checked some other new species taken from the ruin, such as the fruit plant that emanated a ghostly glow and a type of boneless transparent fish which lived in the underground river, but they were nothing next to the mutated bugs.
The glow of the fruit plant, which could not be used for street illumination, was simply an offspring of symbiosis, where a large number of glowing beetles nested in the fruit. Once the flesh was gone, those beetles would disperse while spreading out the seeds. The fish could hardly survive in the daylight, but could only live in an underground river. Although it was tasty, Roland did not think they could farm them on a large scale. They could only serve as a luxury for a few.
Having said that, Roland certainly did not expect that every new species would surprise him like the "rubber worm". He was content with the findings in the exploration of the snow mountain.
Before leaving the Third Border City, Pasha brought him two God's Punishment Witches that Roland had never met.
"Your Majesty, they volunteer to transfer their souls to become new devouring worms. But before that, could you take them to the Dreamland to let them experience the wonders of that incredible world once?"