Chapter 11: The Dragon
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Among the books stored in Pleasing Song Cottage, one is special. It is handwritten, made by local villagers through the generations. Decades ago, after an old man died, his children donated it to the library.
Some local stories are recorded in the manuscripts, those stories are not formal or lacked enough circumstantial evidence to be included in the annals. One of these stories is about the battle between the demon and the dragon in ancient times.
It is said that a long time ago, the king of demons and the king of the dragons fought for a whole decade. In the end, the demon was defeated, and the dragon won. Human beings and other animals were elated.
There are many different versions of the story. Today, villagers generally remember the version as follows: the dragon swallowed the demon into his stomach and died of exhaustion. The dragon suppressed the demon’s power, making it unable to revive, and the dragon slowly turned into a mountain. Today, the continuous hills and peaks near Black Tree Village are the body of the giant dragon.
The Demon is also suppressed in the depths of the mountain, and is still waiting for an opportunity to move. There is an inverted tower at the top of the mountain, which is now the Falling Moon Tower. The inside of the tower is the throat of the dragon, and If you venture down it, you will meet the imprisoned demon.
This statement is, of course, false. If you say it’s easy, it’s a myth. If you say it’s hard, it’s just layman’s nonsense.
A dragon can’t become a mountain. What a big dragon it must be… Moreover, Falling Moon Tower is obviously a relic of an ancient sacrificial place, and its interior is all work of artificial chiseling. How could it be the throat of a dragon? What’s more, real researchers know that dragons don’t eat demons. Instead, abyssal creatures may actually eat the dragons.
Abyssal creatures strengthen themselves by swallowing soul energy. While gnawing at flesh and body, they also swallow the souls of creatures. They will eat anything, plants, animals, humans, elves, even undead creatures, including dragons.
The soul of the dragon contains heavy energy. For abyssal creatures, the dragon always exudes irresistible temptation. No one in the world has ever seen a dragon or a real demon.
Demons only occasionally appear in mage towers far away from the crowd. Some heretics will try to summon abyssal creatures, usually weak and low-level monsters.
Bounty hunters also have a chance to meet demons. They either help mages clean up their mess, or deal with some alien infections. For people today, compared with the demon itself, infection is the biggest threat.. Some exotic objects flow into the crowd, or some buried ancient battlefield reappears in the world, which may cause infection.
Alien infection is like a rare infectious disease. If it is serious, it is really serious. But it is not uncontrollable, so there is no need to panic.
As a bounty hunter, Carringer has more than once faced alien infections, and has seen real lower level monsters. He thought that the crisis of the Falling Moon Tower was no more than that.
Now he realises that there is one thing that’s totally beyond his imagination.
Carringer arrived at the top of the cliff, just as the sun was setting and the sky on the other side was dark blue. He didn’t care to enjoy the beautiful scenery and rushed to the gate on the rock wall.
The door is disappearing from top to bottom, the process is slow, just as if a painting on the rock wall was being wiped away by invisible hands. In the last few seconds, Carringer managed to get in. Standing in the tower, he could finally settle down and look back.
From the inside out, the gate of the tower is not erased, but slowly closed like a normal double door. The color of the sky was squeezed into thin lines and finally disappeared. There are several quadruped statues in the first floor hall. They were all collapsed, motionless and unresponsive to Carringer’s arrival.
Rime said he wanted to cut off the connection to the statue, close the tower door, undo all preset magical protection, and devote all his energy to preparing for ‘the last spell.’ Now there is no magic protection in the moon tower, anyone can walk in freely. But then there was one problem – the floating saucers are gone, and you have to take the spiral stairs to get up and down.
Carringer ran down the stairs, two or three steps at a time, much faster than most people. The ladder breaks down on the thirteenth floor, forcing Carringer to stop.
He leaned over slightly and looked at the dark bottom of the Moon Tower.
More than half of the magic lighting on the stone walls are gone, leaving only some self luminous, permanent burning stones that do not need to be driven by the caster. The spiral staircase is darker in front and at a glance could see a shorter range.
Now that the magic defenses are gone, Carringer can reach the depths of the tower without the company of Rime. The question is how to get there. He had tried rope descent before, and after falling for so long, he couldn’t find a place to rest.
Carringer dropped the machete, then the hatchet and the dagger into the depths A moment later, he heard a jingle at the bottom.
So he laughed and went down into the darkness.
If you want to enter the area covered by magic, you must be accompanied by the tower master mage, otherwise the moon falling tower will not reach the bottom. Now it has changed. Carringer falls into the dark, turns over instinctively and lands on the ground with dexterity.
He rolled over, half kneeling to support himself. This is a very open underground cave, above which is an arched roof, connected with the shaft-like Moon Tower. Due to the dim lighting, it is too wide to see the end.
Carringer got his weapon back. He noticed that the ground under his feet was not soil, more like a thick piece of ice, which was shining from the inside. This is the crystal wall he saw before. At that time, he walked down a gentle slope and saw the facade of the crystal wall. Now he should be standing directly on the top.
Walk around and you should be able to find the previous slope. Maybe Rime is down there.
As he walked, Carringer could feel the vibrations coming from the crystal. It’s very slight at first, and then the frequency increases, the force becomes stronger, and then it becomes like the frequency of a heart beating.
Every heartbeat was like thunder deep in the crystal. Carringer heard a small crack. The part under his feet was still well netted, but there must be a wall cracking somewhere. He listened carefully and let the crackle and roar guide him.
Hundreds of steps later, he saw a list of spells on the ground. The gilded strokes are hot on the crystal surface, and the characters are occluded together to form an arc, which goes deep into the darkness in the distance.
Carringer couldn’t understand the meaning of the characters, but could see its general purpose from its form. It’s supposed to form a kind of imprisonment, a kind of invisible wall. From the perspective of color, the caster has used a lot of rare and precious gem powder effects. Judging from the degree of obsolescence, the spell has been pre-set here for a long time, and was not formed recently.
Carringer probes with his machete to make sure he doesn’t hit anything before stepping into the rune range. When he walked in, he turned around unintentionally and found that there was a reflection in the air behind him. He pushed the machete up and the handle touched the invisible hard wall.
“Yes, indeed! You can come in but you can’t go out?” Carringer reached over and, sure enough, touched the invisible barrier.
After a few steps inside the barrier, a rare but familiar smell reappears. It’s the smell of the white medicine after being dissolved in blood.
The smell here is stronger than that produced by a package of pills. It squirms like an invisible creature, and soon spreads everywhere, covering Carringer’s body.
Carringer wanted to find something to cover his nose. After thinking about it, he thought it was useless and had to bear it. He was afraid of being distracted by the smell, so reminded himself to focus on the real things to be on guard about.
The crystal ground is slightly inclined and concave to the front. From here, dark red liquid begins accumulating under Carringer’s feet and gets deeper and deeper as the ground sinks.
This is a mixture of blood. Wolf’s blood, raven’s blood, snake’s blood, all kinds of blood can be used as powerful casting catalysts. At first, they only wetted Carringer’s boots, but as he continued on, the blood rose to his ankles. Finally, he had to wade in the blood pool as deep as his calves.
There is a large shadow in the darkness ahead. When far away, it looks too fuzzy, like the mouth of a cave on the rock wall.If you get closer, you can see that this is not a cave, not a wall, but a giant beast lying on the crystal’s surface and immersed in a vast pool of blood.
It’s not accurate to say ‘beast’; it has no skin, no muscles, no hair or scales, no eyes in its huge head, only dark hollows… Its whole body is covered with dense white bones.
Bone to bone contact caused friction when the ‘beast’ contracted. The giant beast crouched in the blood pool, like a ruined castle.
As Carringer approached, the beast’s spine dropped a little more. It turns the side of its head, with a reddish glow from its orbit cavity , and a forepaw, dripping with blood, rises and moves a few steps towards Carringer.
It moves the right front paw, while the left front paw sticks to the blood pool. Only half of the phalange of the left forepaw remains, and the ulna is half dissolved. Only the radius is connected with a little claw wrist.
In addition, other parts are also not complete: all the ribs close to the ground are missing, the crotch bone is full of small broken marks, one leg bone is completely missing, whilst the other is also broken in half, the broken part bubbled in the blood, melting and sinking.
Because it was white in the dark, Carringer saw clearly the structure on its back: there was supposed to be a pair of huge wings, but now there are only two broken bone roots.
It has a long head the size of a small house. In its orbit, brow bone and jawbone, there are several different lengths of spikes. Almost all the spikes were broken, and Carringer could deduce what they had been like by looking at their roots
This is the remains of a giant dragon. Ancient, defective, broken… Long dead in a distant time.
It’s a dragon corpse, but it’s not a real dragon. From the bright red light in its orbit and the black around it, this is a resurrected demon.
Reincarnation is a product of the dead spirit school. It belongs to the construct and also to the high-level undead. Different from the simple metal and earth demons, these skeletons need a soul core and usually have the wisdom to communicate with human beings.
Carringer took a few more steps towards the claw bone in the blood.
Standing in front of this huge corpse, he knows that it has consciousness, it has the ability to communicate with people, has five senses and a memory. There were no vocal organs in its neck, but a threatening roar came from its beak regardless. Carringer did not retreat, but put a hand gently on the pale claw bone.
“Rime,” Carringer said, looking into the bone dragon’s eyes, “don’t be angry. It’s not the first time I’ve been in the tower.”
The giant dragon still only made a slight laryngeal sound. Elf Rime’s voice came from a certain direction a little far away, “You… How come you’re back?”
“You…” There should be a noun after that, probably the kind of noun that Rime can write but can’t say. Carringer completed the full version in his mind.
“No wonder…” Carringer said softly, “the first time I saw you, I vaguely felt that ‘Rime’ was not an elf’s name at all. There is no ice or snow in the Southwest Forest and Yore Island. Elves basically live in warm places all four seasons. Almost no elf takes the name of frost.”
“We’ve agreed that you’ll find out in the future. Why do you want to come back? Why do you have to know in advance… ” The sound of “Rime” came from the bottom.
Carringer thought of the ramp he had been to and the crystalline facade next to it. Judging from the sound’s position, the elf’s body should be sitting under the whole crystal, leaning against the crystal wall, just like before.
Carringer said, “If I really go to the Austrian FA Federation, I won’t see you again when I bring the people back, will I?By then, experienced mages would investigate the moon tower and infer everything that had happened here. They would tell me that there was a mage who studied Necromancy and heresy. His mistake not only killed himself, but also nearly caused a disaster. Fortunately, he was well prepared for such a situation, and he had prepared a skeleton dragon before the most dangerous experiment. The skeleton dragon is not only the creation of the mage, but also the assistant, and even the tool used by the mage to offset the risk. Am I right?”
“That’s right,” Rime’s voice continued to come from under the huge crystal. “Teacher created me to deal with today’s situation.”
“For abyssal creatures, the dragon is an irresistible temptation,” Carringer said. Swallowing the dragon will make a demon’s power full. Just smelling the dragon’s wound is enough to make a demon crazy.
“But if you don’t control yourself and eat too much, the demon will die. For a demon, the dragon’s flesh and soul are more like medicine than food. You have read a lot of books. You should know that there are also such drugs in human society. If you take some medicine, you can improve your concentration and even your physical strength. You will feel very good. If you continue to take it, you may even become addicted to it. However, if you take a drug for a long time, you will eventually be poisoned by the drug.”
“You’re right. You know a lot.”
“Although you are just a magic image, you are made of the bones of a dragon. With the right magic, you can also attract the abyssal creatures, arouse its appetite and make it lose its senses.”
“Yes. Even a living abyssal element cluster will be affected by this… Attracted to this drug.”
“I’m a little curious, why let it eat youslowly?” Carringer stroked the claw bone. “If something goes wrong with the experiment, you should be eaten immediately and follow your teacher to your death, and poison the element cluster. Why do you want to be swallowed up like this? Is it not painful?”
“Because I need time,” said Rime.
“What takes time to do?”
“Check for the extent of the Exodus, check the status of other infected bodies on this mountain… If I’m eaten too fast, I’ll probably miss something, and won’t be able to fix it. Teacher Jingh has prepared everything in advance and left his body to me. I can transfer a part of my soul to that body, so that I can leave the Moon Tower and do the aftercare.”
“Is this your teacher’s order?”
“It’s the teacher’s instruction, not order. It’s my own will.”
Carringer asked, “For what? Just for the local people and their land? Do you think it’s worth it?”
“It’s not worth it.” This answer is a bit unexpected. Carringer has always talked a lot, but this time he didn’t know how to answer.
“It’s not worth it, it’s not like I’m willing to,” Rime said after a pause.
Carringer looked down at the pool of blood under his feet thoughtfully. “These things,” he said, glancing around, referring to the huge crystal and the blood, “what happens if it’s interrupted?”
“The cluster of elements will break the crystal of confinement and break free from its shackles.”
Carringer nodded. As Rime said earlier, this cluster of elements comes from the depths of the earth. It is formed by a large number of demon bones on the ancient battlefield. It is very powerful and basically equivalent to a lord-level abyssal creature.
Such a monster is difficult to control. It also eats bone dragons and ‘medicine’ to make itself more powerful… Although it is said that the drug will eventually poison it, there must be a time when its strength will reach its peak before it completely dies.
If it breaks free, it will go mad and infect the surrounding land and creatures. This is much more terrible than the real demon lord. At least a living demon lord won’t spread infection.
Carringer waded a few steps closer to the head of the bone dragon. He stood on the side of his head, facing the red light in the dark eyes.
“Rime, I have a way,” he said softly. “With this method, we can eliminate this living cluster of elements, and you don’t have to die. How about it, cooperate?”
“No cooperation. What you said is impossible.”
Carringer laughed. “You didn’t even listen to the details. How do you know it’s impossible? Although you are only a resurrection icon, you are also a caster who has read many books. Come on, I’ll test you with a few questions.”
The red light flashed in the eyes of the skull.
Carringer asked, “If humans encounter abyssal elemental clusters, they will be infected and become abyssal creatures as well. What if a demon encounters abyssal elemental clusters?”
“The weak demon will be afraid of being swallowed and digested by the cluster. Powerful demons… It will try to devour the elements to strengthen themselves.”
“That’s right,” Carringer continued, “is this kind of knowledge common in human books?”
“Not much. Heresy has long been taboo, just like necromancy.”
“Not many people know that, except for the traitors like Jingh who study the world,right?”
“Apart from some mages, what other creatures know more about demons? Not just hearing a few words, but the kind that really knows them.”
Rime’s voice sounded amused, “What kind of question is that? Of course, it’s the demons themselves.”
Carringer didn’t reply and just stood in front of the bone dragon’s eyes with a smile, looking at the shaking red light. The bone dragon made a small friction sound. It moves its broken forelimb, struggling to support its upper body, and looks down at Carringer standing in the blood pool.
The blood and water ripples with the movement of the bone dragon. After the ripples have calmed down, two shadows appear on the crimson water. One was a pale skeleton, the other a dark beast. They are almost identical in size, except that the beast had a pair of wings on the back, folded together.
Carringer raises his head and looks at the skull of the dragon in the sky. At this moment, the wings of the giant beast in the projection vibrated and spread left and right.
The wings fully extended across the blood pool.
There was a gap between the black bones, in which the color of fire flowed.