Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Andrey kept his head down and did not speak. He looked disturbed.
Steve took out a dagger, patted Andrey’s face and said, “I am the one who contacted you. You probably know my status. I say I can kill you here and no one would say a word. Do you believe?”
Andrey raised his head abruptly. His mouth opened and closed a few times.
Steve said, “If you want to say something, take your time. Just put your words in order first and tell me the truth. Don’t miss any details.”
Brother Wolf had already gained information while they were trying to get Andrey to speak.
He came up to them and said, “There are several pieces of news. The first one is the Fly Amanita. There is a variety of Fly Amanita growing on the edge of the swamp. It is a potent hallucinogen.”
As Brother Wolf spoke, he took out a piece of dry fungus and handed it to them.
The fungus was dark green with black and red spots. It was not very big, and the cap was only about two centimeters in diameter.
Li Du carefully looked at the thing in his hand. Brother Wolf said, “Do not worry; it would not harm you if you don’t eat it.”
“It is good to be careful. We didn’t eat it, did we?” said Li Du.
Brother Wolf said, “We didn’t eat it, but some people did. I would like to tell you a bit about this hallucinogen. It is a neurotoxic basidiomycete, and the fungus belongs to the genus Amanita, which grows in temperate and polar regions of the northern hemisphere and likes to live symbiotically with other plants.”
“The mushroom is named for its ability to kill flies, and is known as fly base, mother fly, and Amarin.”
“If eaten directly, it can cause severe nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and delirium within about six hours, as well as sweating, chills, muscle twitches, slow pulse, difficulty breathing or clenched teeth, dizziness, and confusion.”
After listening to his explanation, Li Du was surprised and said, “So where is the part about it being a hallucinogen? I didn’t hear you say it was hallucinogenic if consumed.”
“Yes, the hallucinogenic quality of this fungus is not acquired by eating directly, but by a compound called muscarine, which is synthesized in the body and excreted in the urine.”
Steve snapped his fingers. “Wait…in the urine? From what I know, the shamans of Siberia have long possessed mysterious water, which was used locally as a hallucinogenic and out-of-body experience drug, and it has great significance in native religions, but it has been analyzed and it’s actually urine with hallucinogenic compounds…”
Brother Wolf nodded and said, “You’re close. I guess the substance would be present in the urine of anyone who would eat the poisonous mushroom. People all over Siberia, including Tungus, Yakut, and Nenets are good at digging up this kind of fungus. It could be sold at a high price to the locals.”
Li Du’s facial expression was sour “Since this thing makes hallucinogens appear in the urine, does it mean that it would also easily become volatile as a urine compound?”
Brother Wolf said, “I know what you mean, boss, but don’t worry, they didn’t pour the urine into our car, it was volatile in its dry state.”
“Damn it,” cried Steve, looking desperate. “They dried the urine and turned it into urea and then ground it into powder and put it in our car. I’ll bet that’s what they did.”
Brother Wolf was silent this time. Clearly, Steve was right.
Li Du had a strong tolerance for this kind of thing. As long as he was not directly exposed to the urine of villagers, it was not a big deal to him.
Steve felt differently. He was the second generation of a very rich family, a was a bit of a neat freak. Therefore, he could not bear this kind of thing.
Li Du changed the subject. “Is this substance so powerful? Why haven’t I heard of it before?”
“There are many subspecies of amanita, some of which are poisonous, some of which are edible, and a few of which are hallucinogenic,” Brother Wolf said. “We happened to bump upon one of the latter.”
He looked at Steve and said, “As far as I know, these hallucinogenic mushrooms are little known in the outside world. Mr. Tussenberg, maybe you can take them out and introduce them as a scientific discovery.”
Sure enough, the news cheered Steve up and he asked, “Really? The Fly Amanita hasn’t been discovered yet?”
“I’m not sure,” Brother Wolf said. “But as far as my comrades and I know, it has not been introduced to the wild poisonous plants the armies of the world use. Botanists know little enough about it too.”
Li Du asked, “Did you just say it can produce directed hallucination? What does that mean?”
Brother Wolf explained, “It means the ability to create similar hallucinations in a group of people, like you’ve all seen the tentacles of deep-sea monsters..”
“Of course, the culprit didn’t simply cause you to automatically hallucinate, they used some kind of inducement. Andrey used ideas he planted in your heads.”
He whistled, and Madman pulled over something rather untidy, with long ropes and long rubber sleeves, which were inflated to appear in irregular twists.
Li Du crouched down to look at the object, which had red buttons on it. He asked, “So what we saw was this, and we mistook it as a red-tentacle monster?”
Brother Wolf nodded and said, “This should be it. The northern deer and Mr. Andrey were dragged away by the rope.”
Li Du examined it a little and said, “Hey, this fungus is really amazing. Just seeing these things makes people think of monster tentacles. It’s unbelievable.”
Brother Wolf said, “Even without the right words, you would still have the hallucination, but this serves as directional guidance, allowing you to have the related hallucinations more quickly, and the hallucinations are controlled, so you see just what they want you to see.”
Steve looked back at Andrey and said, “Tell me. What are you trying to do to us? Just steal some supplies?”
Andrey kept his head down and said nothing. Steve was angry and said, “Hey, you’re a tough talker. Good. Let’s see if your mouth is harder than my knife.”
Brother Wolf said, “He probably did this for money. He knows we are very rich. The villagers are after supplies, but there is another group of people involved in this matter. They are very careful, I did not catch them before, they ran away.”
Li Du asked, “There is another group of people? What group?”
“The villagers call them scavengers. They poach resources from the tundra, and they found this new species of fungus. They are the ones who are behind all this.”
Steve said, “Why are they acting against us? Do we know them? Had any conflicts with them before?”
“Could they be related to the pirates?” wondered Li Du.
Brother Wolf shook his head. “Not sure. Only after we catch and interrogate them, we will know the truth.”