Bounty Hunter Goes Deep into the Mountain Forest
Genre: BL, shounen-ai, fantasy, dragons, magic, death
Novel Status in Country of Origin: Complete, 14 Chapters
~~~~Brought to you by ExR~~~~
The bounty hunter took an ordinary job and went to an ordinary village. There lived a mage in the mountain outside the village. It is said that he had protected the villagers for a long time. The mage is very elegant, his identity is very mysterious, his speech is extremely irascible, and his communication is very difficult to deal with.
Chapter 1: The Bounty Hunter
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Towards dusk, the clear sky suddenly changed its face, and within a few minutes, heavy rain poured down.
Carringer put on his hood, wrapped up in oilcloth, and insisted on moving on.
After night fell completely and the rain stopped, he finally saw the wooden road sign at the entrance of Black Tree Village. Small houses lay on the rolling hills in the distance. The village had no cooking smoke or lights, probably because it was late and the rainstorm had just passed, making it look lifeless. Closer to the village, Carringer dismounted. All the houses in the village were shut with wooden windows. When he passed by, some curious people would peep through the cracks.
One of the kids opened the door, poked his head out and looked at Carringer curiously. Carringer smiled and waved at him, but the child shrinks back shyly. Then, a woman appeared in the crack of the door, presumably the mother of the child.
The moment she sawCarringer, she let out a soft gasp, mostly frightened by the weapons Carringer was carrying. Carringer slung his wet cloak over his arm, revealing the dark leather armor under his cloak, the thin cutlass on his waist, and the broad-edged sword slung across his back. In addition, there were several spare weapons hanging on the side of his tall horse, most of which were hidden under the blanket. Only a worn-out tomahawk showed its long handle.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” Carringer bowed softly. “I’m looking for a pub called ‘Pleasing Song Cottage.’ Would you please show me the way?”
The woman pointed at a direction from the half-opened door, “It’s over there, east of the crossroads. But… “
“But are you looking for a tavern called ‘Pleasing Song Cottage?’ Is that the name?”
“Well, it’s not a tavern. The name is right. It’s over there, but it’s not a tavern. If you want to buy a drink, don’t go there.”
Carringer was just about to ask ‘what is it’ when suddenly, a flash of light struck his mind and he understood what the woman meant. It is not a tavern, but it is also called the ‘Pleasing Song Cottage.’ It’s probably a ‘romantic’ place. Since the woman would not explain in more detail, most likely he’s correct. The contact only told him to go to the ‘Pleasing Song Cottage,’ but did not tell him what kind of business place it was.
So he asked no more questions, thanked the woman and led his horse towards the crossroads.
The woman had pointed in the right direction. It was located in the northeastern corner of the crossroads. The building had two stories and was a little bigger than a house.It also has a mini front yard that can hold up to three people. The windows of the building were closed, and there was a dim light shining from behind them.
It’s too quiet for a tavern. Quite different from Carringer’s imagination, there were no ‘songs’ from the room.
Carringer approached with his horse, and the door opened directly. He suspected that the people inside had heard the sound of the horses’ hooves.
The one who opened the door was a teenager, looking quite silly. Carringer said what he wanted. The boy nodded and asked him to come in and tie up his horse.
At first glance, this place is similar to a tavern. The desk faced the gate and was next to the stairs leading to the second floor. In the left-hand area of the hall on the first floor, there were long wooden tables and stools. Unlike a pub, in addition to the tables and chairs, the right-hand area also had a row of bookshelves.
It’s a bookshelf, not a wine cabinet. The lights were bright enough, Carringer could see clearly, and there were books on the shelves.
Seeing Carringer, a man and a woman rose from the bench. The well-dressed young man bowed in terror, and the old lady bowed her head and trembled.
“Frosty Carringer! Legendary devil hunter! Your presence makes this place bright and warm!” the man’s high voice startled Carringer.
“What would you like to drink? Here is the menu. I recommend caramel black tea with cheese cream,” The lady handed him a piece of card.
Carringer was silent for a moment. He took the menu from his arms and handed it back to the man, “I was recommended by the Bounty Hunters Association. They asked me to contact the Sheriff of Black Tree Village. Which of you is the sheriff?”
“None of us,” the man rubbed his hands. “The sheriff is injured. He’s now seriously ill and can’t receive people. I am the chief resident bard of Black Tree Village and the nephew of the sheriff.”
You are the ‘resident bard,’ what kind of poet takes over the law? Carringer looked at the lady, and she raised her skirt in a curtsy, “I’m his mother, the sheriff’s sister, and the owner of this shop. What would you like to drink? If you can’t decide, is it okay for us to serve one of our special drinks from our shop?”
Carringer couldn’t help but suspect that he was in the wrong place. He came only after receiving a help notice. The case seemed very mysterious, and the risk was assessed as very high. There was no one in the Bounty Hunter Guild willing to take it. He came all the way through the storm and saw the small village shrouded in darkness. Even the weather is rendering the village helpless and miserable.
But now it looks like… Is there a devil in this place? Why do these people look so nervous and afraid?
The resident poet invited Carringer to his seat and respectfully hung up his cloak. It was just a coarse woven cloak that had been repeatedly mended and soaked in rain, with a clasp on its shoulder and no tears.
The woman shopkeeper put away the menu and went to the back kitchen. Carringer had never ordered anything formally, and he didn’t know what she would bring out in the end.
“Let’s get down to business,” Carringer said, folding his hands on the table. “Tell me about your troubles.”
The poet nodded, “Troubles? There are quite a few. For example, we don’t sell alcoholic drinks in our store, but my mother said that we should add some low-grade mixed liquor appropriately. I said, wouldn’t that cause the drink to lose its own characteristics…”
“I asked you about the trouble in Black Tree Village!”
“Ah! Yes, yes, yes…” The poet said with a smile, “Yes, we sent a letter for help to the Lord. The Lord sent a guard, which didn’t work. And then he helped us call for help to the Hunter Guild, and here you are.. Now let me start from the beginning…”
He took a lute from under the table.
Stop talking… Carringer’s heart did not feel good about this and he cupped his forehead with his hand.
Then the woman came out, she brought a glass of wine and a small plate of toast and berries. Carringer tasted the drink;It wasn’t ale, more of a thick, sweet dairy product judging from the wine bubbles.The poet plucked the string on his lute, “It’s not just about demons, it’s about a mage…”
The name of the village derives from the forest adjacent to the high mountain. The leaves of the trees on the mountain are light in autumn and winter, and become dark green in spring and summer. In addition, the trunks are very dark in colour. The local people have always called them black trees for simplicity.
The mountain forest here is darker than an ordinary forest, even in the daytime, you have to carry a lamp to walk through. Even the bravest of Hunters would only dare to reach the furthest edges of the mountainside.If you go in further, you will no longer belong to human territory.
Deep in the mountain forest lives a mage. It is said that mages usually live in high towers, but this master’s tower goes vertically downwards. The entrance is in the cave at the top of the mountain. The tower is upside down and embedded within the whole mountain.
The entrance is the top of the tower, and the deepest is the bottom of the tower. From ‘shallow’ to ‘deep,’ it is like exploring from the human world into hell.
Hearing this, Carringer couldn’t help but interject. “Have you been to this place?”
The poet said, “No. But my uncle has. That’s the sheriff.”
“He went into that tower?”
“Then why’d you say…”
“He went up the mountain, up to the top. Oh, don’t worry. Listen to me first…”
If someone leaves the village, goes into the forest and goes to the place near the mountainside, he will see a lot of warning signs. There are wooden signs, stone tablets, cloth wrapped around trees, the signs are of different ages, some are too old to see the date, and some are left by the villagers’ parents.
All the warning signs say the same thing: in the mage’s tower in the mountain, there are sleeping demons.
A long time ago, a great war broke out in this mountainous area. The king of the devil and the Dragon King fought here for ten years. In the end, the Dragon King completely defeated the Demon King and devoured him.
Although the Dragon King was victorious, the war consumed his strength and gradually weakened him. He laid down in the same spot on the battlefield, never to wake again, and gradually turned into a mountain range.
The devil is still in the belly of the dragon. Though exhausted, he did not die completely. It is said that the trees in the mountains are generally dark because the devil’s power has infected the land. He is sleeping and waiting to regain his strength. One day, he will wake from his deep slumber and explore the world a thousand years from now.
Before humans set foot here, the elves came to the mountains. Elves are very mysterious, among which the most mysterious is the mage. He built a mage tower on the mountain to study the dragon and the devil.
The inverted mage tower on the top of the mountain is built on the head of the dragon. The tower structure runs down the dragon’s throat, leading to the demon’s sleeping position.
Carringer interposed again, “Wait, did this dragon die with its body upright and head up?”
The poet said, “The dragon is so mysterious that I have never seen it.”
“Also, it doesn’t make sense,” Carringer said. “The Dragon killed the devil and ate it, and the Dragon died and turned into a mountain… Why did the devil become a tower?”
The poet bowed his head and fiddled with the lute strings. Carringer guessed he might be organizing his thoughts. In fact, his language organization was not very good just now. He basically plucked the strings, sang in a dialect and didn’t rhyme at all, but his intonation was quite rhythmic.
The poet raised his head and said, “The devil is a kind of evil life form not from this world, I’m afraid it can’t be understood using common sense.”
“Mn,” shrugged Carringer, “so is this demon awake?”
“I don’t think it is yet?”
“What do you want from me?”
The poet plucked the string, “If the devil king wakes up, the world will surely fall into chaos. How can Black Tree Village live as normal as it is doing now? Having said that, we do have some other threats from the mountains and forests. Don’t worry. I’ll get to that straight away.”
Once upon a time, mountains, dragons, demons, mages… They were all just empty horror stories. Residents knew of them, but no one had actually seen one.
Then a few years ago, things started to go wrong.
The first recorded encounter went like this: a young hunter was hunting for a badger, and the wounded badger fled away, leading the hunter closer to the hillside. The badger had a rare coat so the hunter didn’t want to give up. In addition, he was young and didn’t believe in the old tales and taboos from the village, so he ignored the warnings and continued to chase his prey along the mountain road.
After a while, the hunter lost the badger. When he prepared to turn back, he heard a terrible roar from deep within the forest. It was certainly not the sound of a badger or a wolf and there were no tigers or lions in the area. The most dangerous animal was the bear and the hunter had seen bears before and knew how to deal with them.
The hunter prepared himself and walked down the mountain with vigilance. Suddenly, the trees behind him rustled, he quickly turned around and a shadow flashed out of the forest.
“Is it a bear?” Carringer couldn’t help interrupting again. “Or the devil?”
“No, not at all,” the poet seemed a little smug, probably proud of the fact that the audience couldn’t guess the development of the story. “The hunter did not get a good look, but he ran fast and rolled down the mountain. He didn’t catch up with it.”
Carringer rubbed his chin and thought. The villagers had never seen the outside world. What they saw didn’t count.
The poet went on to say, “This is the first time that something strange has happened to this animal, so no one in our village paid much attention to it. Not long after that, something else happened…”
The second strange incident involved a couple of young lovers. Their marriage was opposed by their parents and they decided to elope.
If they had followed the main road, they could have arrived in the city. The castle of the local Lord was there. The girl’s brother worked as a guard in the city, while the boy’s mother sold medicine there. However, the young couple was afraid that they would be found on this road, so they chose another path and ventured over the mountain.
The two struggled and were about to reach the top of the mountain. The light was fading rapidly and soon It was too dark to reach out. The boy kept encouraging the girl not to be afraid, but before he could finish, the girl suddenly screamed. In the bush a few steps away, a pair of red eyes were fixed on them.
First, a pair of eyes appeared, and then more eyes emerged from the dark corner. The boy bravely drew out his sword and rushed up, but was dragged into the bush by something in the dark. The girl called out her lover’s name and was pushed down onto the ground by a force, knocking her head on the tree root and fainting.
The girl awoke once in a daze… She saw a pale and beautiful face, the figure put her hands over the girl’s eyes and she fell asleep again.
After a thorough awakening, both returned to the village. It was the other young people in the village who risked their lives to get them back.
Carringer said, “The description of the subject is pale, or is it rhetorically beautiful?”
The poet said, “This is a simplified version. At that time, the description of the girl was more stunning, I didn’t memorize it. We suspect that who she saw was the mage, the mage who had been living in the mountains.”
“What happened to the couple?” Carringer asked.
The poet beamed with schadenfreude, “The two families no longer object to their marriage, but not long ago they broke up on their own.”
“I’m asking you about their injuries and if their lives have been affected.”
“Oh, well, they didn’t really get hurt, just a little scratch.” The poet went on to tell what happened later. In recent years, villagers have encountered danger one after another in the mountain forest, and also more and more frequently.
At first, it was difficult for hunters to hunt normally. Later, animals that were very timid suddenly began to attack human beings. Later, animals started visiting the villages at night, and poultry and livestock suffered from repeated disasters. The attacked livestock was not only preyed on but sometimes killed and torn up for no reason.
Last spring, there were cases of villagers being attacked. A young man ran to the orchard late at night to dig and hide and was bitten by a small red-eyed beast that attacked in the dark.
The screams soon attracted other villagers. More than ten young men and four girls came together, carrying wooden chides, shovels and hoes, and peacefully podding in the orchard, fought two badgers, a fox, a bobcat, and eight hares.
More than half of the small animals died, whilst some escaped. Brave young people all hang their colors. Some of them were seriously injured, with a few being left with permanent injuries and disabilities.
The village Sheriff told the local guard about it, but the guard didn’t believe him. Hares, a bobcat, fox, and two badgers attacked humans together? How could that be possible?
Gradually, the anomaly became more and more serious. Last summer and autumn, there were several attacks. People saw not only animals with great changes in character, but also some wild animals hidden in the shadows that they were unable to see clearly..
At first, the villagers hired several outside hunters. At that time, they did not hire bounty hunters, but ordinary professional hunters, that is, those specialized in dealing with beasts. Eight of them went up the mountain and four came back alive.
At this point, the matter finally attracted the attention of the territorial guard.
The guard sent two men to check on the situation. Neither of them dared to go up the mountain. They gave some effective suggestions: the villagers should not go up the mountain and should not leave their homes after sunset.
Although the advice was possible to implement, it was only a temporary solution rather than a long-term one. Hunters need to live after all, and they can’t give up hunting in this lifetime.
More importantly, as winter goes and spring arrives, starting from this year, accidents begin to happen in broad daylight.
Once or twice, people met fierce animals running down the mountain. People had encounters but none of them cause any serious disaster. Some people saw creatures wandering on the ridges that they had never seen before. Because of fear, the witnesses did not dare to approach.
Thus, the territorial guard finally moved. They sent a small group of ten people, together with the village Sheriff and five village militia, and sixteen people went up the mountain.
The purpose of this exploration was not to eliminate the violent animals but to find out the reasons for the abnormality. So they discussed in advance: if something happens, try to escape and prioritize your life.
The trip was not in vain. They really met monsters. Among them, the most normal beast was a rabbit as big as a wolfhound, whilst the other beings were completely monsters. People can’t even describe what it looked like.
During the operation, the village Sheriff was injured and is still at home. The wounded soldiers of the guard returned to the territorial area to report the situation. The Lord also felt that the situation was not good, and was worried that the terrible beings would spread towards the city.
So the Lord decided to recruit bounty hunters to take care of it.
‘Bounty hunters’ are different from general hunters, they do not take the job of hunting bears and wolves, their hunting targets are usually villains or monsters. It is said that experienced bounty hunters can destroy an entire orc camp alone, and some have seen ghosts and demons with their own eyes.
The Lord originally meant to spend money on more than ten or twenty hunters, despite the fact that it’s better to recruit mages instead. In fact, the safest way is to inform the Templar order since they are the most secure fighting force, but the Lord thinks it’s better not to spread the matter that far.
So, on the principle of keeping as low a profile as possible, they recruited people privately through the Hunter and Adventurer Association, without informing other territories.
As a result, there was only Carringer.
In reality, there was a wandering warlock who was willing to come. However, his suggestion to the Lord was to set fire to the mountain. The Lord decided to send him back.
Why doesn’t anyone want to come? Carringer knows why. When he saw this recruitment notice in the hunter guild, he felt that few people would apply.
It’s really serious in Black Tree Village. In the eyes of the layman, these cases are messy, with no details or regularity; however, in the eyes of the insiders, the more such cases occurred, the more danger was hiding behind them…
If there is a power of attorney that says, “There is a goblin nest in the west of the city, robbing passers-by every day, or there is an abandoned dragon’s nest on the snowy mountain with frost giants living in it…”. Then such entrustment will not be difficult to solve. It is a clear and high-quality help-seeking.
A nest of frost giants is indeed dangerous, but as long as the hunters can gather the types and whereabouts of the enemy, they can be confident and prepare for the battle in advance.
In the case of Black Tree Village, most hunters ignore it. Confusion about the details of the case often leads to less gain. Either the risk is hidden, and the final loss is greater than the profit, or the risk is small, but it involves a lot of troublesome human affairs.
Anyway, Carringer is here.
After hearing the case, Carringer asked, “What about the casualties in the last exploration?”
The poet said, “Their goal was to explore and escape. They didn’t want to fight, but one soldier died.”
It’s good enough that only one person died, though that sounds too cold for Carringer to say.
Instead, Carringer said more euphemistically,, “It can be seen that with the addition of the city guard, the casualties are not too heavy.”
The poet suddenly appeared to think of something, “Ah! No, it’s not because of the guards! It’s because the mage helped them!”
“It’s the mage I mentioned, the one who hides in the mountains and lives in the upside-down tower… My uncle, the sheriff, met him. The mage is not a monster. He is a real spirit, a living elf, not a ghost.”
“Tell me about the elf,” Carringer said.
The poet took out a folded piece of paper from his arms and slapped it on the table with a bang, showing a proud look between his eyebrows and eyes. “Look, this was written by the elf himself. He gave the letter to my uncle, who gave it to me.”
Light yellow paper, very thick, like a page torn from a notebook.
Carringer unfolds the crease, revealing the elegant font. The writing is in the common language, but the slanting angle and glyph have obvious characteristics of the elvish language.
Judging from the glyph, the writer did not use a normal feather pen, but the sharp fine pen carved from crystals. This kind of pen is very common among elves, and difficult to make using human technology.
The writer’s handwriting is beautiful, and the whole letter is clean and neat without any mistakes. Looking at such a letter, you could imagine what the writer behind it might look like.
So Carringer began to read the contents carefully.
The letter read:
To the village head or chief:
Tell all of your people not to come back!
Do you want to die? Did I not say it was dangerous here? So many warning signs, so many! It is super fucking simple, is it not?
——I fucking hate you!
The inhabitant of the mountain
At the end of the letter, there was a signature.
“This is written by the mage?” Carringer read the full text, his heart was greatly shocked.