Chapter 12: Not Human
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Why are you so scared?” Carringer asked, looking up. He is still human, but the projection of the blood pool shows the posture of a bony winged beast.
“You are…you are… you…”
“Yes, yes, I am not a human being. You didn’t notice, did you? It’s normal. I didn’t realize you were not an elf at first. It’s fair that we cheated each other.”
The bone dragon looked at him straight for a while. Maybe the broken bones couldn’t support itself. Soon, it fell back into the blood pool. Carringer didn’t mind the blood splashing on him.
Carringer stepped forward, “Well, would you like to consider my proposal? Let the element cluster break through the crystallization, I will deal with it. I’ll eat it.”
The skeleton dragon itself could not speak, and the elf’s body under the crystal wall did not make a sound for a long time.
Carringer went on, “Frankly, I wanted to do that. I wanted to come back and do it after I settled all the miscellaneous things out there. “
“Even if you are…. even if you’re an abyssal creature, you can’t deal with such a powerful cluster of elements. Don’t think about it. You can’t eat it. Instead, you will be devoured by it.”
“That’s not necessarily true,” Carringer said. “I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to do it. I also know that I can’t match its ability, so I was very upset. But now it’s different. With your help, it’ll be easier for me to do it.”
“I…” Rime was silent for a while. Suddenly, he understood what the creature in front of him meant.
Carringer smiles and says clearly, “Just let me have a little bit of it. I’ll take care of the darkness, and I won’t let you die, and I won’t let myself be poisoned.”
As his voice falls, the pool of blood ripples again.
The waves break the demon’s shadow, and the debris gradually rises from the water surface and into the air. It disturbs the space around Carringer and the dragon, like a black swarm of insects.
After circling a few times, the swarm begins to gather towards Carringer’s body. They get under his feet, sticking to him and covering his face. The human’s body is wrapped up little by little until it is completely hidden among the black insects.
More and more insects gathered, they piled up into a small black mountain in the blood pool. Slowly, they combed their bodies, stretched out their limbs, spread their wings, and gathered their heads. The fragments that kept shaking on the surface slowly solidified, forming irregular horns and thorns.
Now the swarm is gone, and Carringer’s body is gone, replaced by a large and complete abyssal creature. On its dark head, there are several bloody cracks, splitting and forming the five features, glowing with red light.
A demon’s voice comes from the depths of its body. “I haven’t had such a chance for a long time. Ai, it’s so comfortable. It’s like going back to my hometown.”
Rime was surprised, but not afraid of the abyssal creature. The giant dragon’s eyes were always facing the demon, and the flames in its eyes fluttered back and forth, as if observing the demon’s various appearances.
“Where do you want me to eat?” asked the demon.
“Whatever you want,” the bone dragon replied, “even if you want to destroy me completely, I can’t resist. There’s no choice but to do what you like.”
“Why do I feel like you’re angry?”
“Nonsense. I’ve been fighting against the abyss, but now I’m trusting a creature from the abyss.”
The demon arches his back, lowers his body, extends his arms and holds them in the blood pool. The wings formed by bone and fire-light hang down and the demon stands on the side of the skeleton dragon, enveloping the skeleton dragon in its own shadow.
“I’m a bounty hunter. I’m here to work,” the demon said a familiar sentence. “Maybe you don’t believe me. I’m a recognized expert in the bounty hunter guild. I can complete all the tasks that others dare not take. My employer is often the sheriff, the head of the chamber of Commerce, the Lord and so on. The reward is not a problem at all. Isn’t it natural that I take money and work hard? What’s wrong with trusting a hunter?”
The bone dragon was silent for a moment, and Rime’s voice said, “Did you use this to deal with demons before? The lower demons would be scared to death.”
“No. I’ve been working as a human, using weapons and armor honestly. In this plane, we can’t act with a complete pattern. The composition of elements here is different from that of the abyss we are forced to compress into the size of humanoid creatures. If not thanks to the deep elements under the moon tower, I would not be able to return to this form.”
As he spoke, the spines in some parts of his body turned into insect swarms again, sticking to the keel of the dragon under him, from the broken wing bone root to the spine, and then sliding along the spine to the ribs and the remaining limbs. The fire in the dragon’s eyes trembled, and its head fell down. The demon’s black palm rises from the blood, holding up the skull of the dragon and keeping it above the surface.
“Why are you here?” Rime asked softly.
“Didn’t I say it already?”
“No, I mean, why did you come to this plane?”
Between the demon and the skeleton, there was a slight friction sound, like thousands of snakes and scorpions crawling in the dense grass, and like countless teeth grinding gravel.
The black insect swarm swam back and forth on the keel, looking for any convenient spots to lower their mouths without damaging the key parts. When they find the ideal place to lower their mouths, they form tentacles protruding from the demon’s body surface. Blood seams split at the top of the limbs, mouths the same color as the eyes opened, and tusks similar to thorns stretched out.
The pale skeleton lay in the blood, its whole body painted black, with only the head exposed outside. The fire in the eye socket shakes violently at first, and then shrinks into a small red spot in an instant.
It is just a skeleton, there are no muscles or cartilages in the whole body. When it moves violently, bones rub against each other and make a sharp sound. For example, to comfort the bone dragon or distract him, the demon began to answer the previous question, “To say why I came to this place is very simple and stupid.”
“To explain this, I have to say something else. While traveling around as a bounty hunter, I heard that people in some areas like to keep crocodiles. They take this as a symbol of their identity, showing that they are rich, bold and generous. But in fact, not every family has the conditions to raise crocodiles. Even the rich may not understand the habits of crocodiles, or even how to protect themselves. Rich and powerful people will take a group of people to catch crocodiles and show off when they get home. Then they don’t know what to do with them.”
There was a dull crack in the air, first for a moment, then one after another. The clatter of the keel is now more and more frequent, and the skeleton shakes from its suffering.
“Go on…” Rime’s voice came from below the crystal. “Later, what did they do with the crocodile…”
The question he previously asked is clearly on why the demon is based on the standard plane. Now, listening to the topic of raising crocodiles, he seems to be quite involved.
Carringer’s voice said, “After showing off to the guests, they throw the crocodiles away. For example, you can put it in any river far away, some people even throw it into the sea, where the crocodile will die. If it lives, it can’t do anything and just try to live as much as possible. If placed in a strange river far away from its natural habitat, it could only live in that river. It’s almost impossible for it to go back to its natural habitat, it’s just an innocent little crocodile afterall.”
“Are you such a crocodile?”
“I am,” Carringer said. “You should know a lot about researchers, right? Many years ago…. I’m not sure how many years it is…Anyway, a long time ago, it was a symbol of success for the researchers to successfully summon the creatures.”
“Who is the mage that called you?” Rime asked.
“Don’t worry. It’s not your teacher Jingh. I don’t know Jingh.”
“I didn’t say it was him. I mean, who’s that mage? What happened to them?”
“He’s dead, but I didn’t kill him,” the demon’s eyes narrowed, and the thin gap curved into an arc. “I didn’t know what was going on at that time, I didn’t even know where I was. By the time I understood , the one who called me had already fled.”
“Ran away? You just said he was dead… “
“I played on this plane for a while, and decades later, I found him along the path of the soul when I called. He was too old to recognize me. He couldn’t even recognize his wife and children. And then it wasn’t long before he died. I can’t go back to the abyss because teleportation is still very rare. Especially because I’ve lived here for so long, like a fish growing up in a narrow beaker, I’m stuck here.”
A sigh came from below the crystal wall. In the blood pool, the sound of gnawing continues, and the skeleton of the dragon trembles again and again, as if it may fall apart at any time.
The demon has a black claw on its wing. It gently touches the head of the dragon, like a shadow waving back and forth.
Silence will make people focus on the pain, or more nonsense.
“Why are you silent? Are you sympathizing with me?” The demon said with a smile, “No, it’s not good to abuse compassion. I was really miserable. I was forced to leave my hometown and have to work for myself. But it is not too bad, you have it worse. The body of an ancient dragon is not a dragon at all, but a magic image. Your teacher made you, taught you all kinds of knowledge, trained you like an apprentice, just to send you to your death one day. “
The bone dragon immediately retorted, “Teacher did not expect this experiment to fail…”
“Well, if it fails, you’ll be at risk.”
“That is not Teacher’s compulsion… It’s my own will.”
The demon’s eyes were on the dragon’s eyes, “How do you know it’s your will? A mage controls a magic image. How can a magic image know whether it wants to or not? You said you are willing. How can you prove it?”
“How do I know?” Rime’s voice was a little louder than before, “If you want to eat, you can continue to eat. This is so much nonsense, I am so miserable right now, and you still scold my teacher, you are sick!”
Carringer was surprised. It’s the first time that Rime has hit back at someone face to face. It wasn’t a letter, it wasn’t a reading from a four legged globe. Although the tone is still soft and far less than the strength of the letter.
Rime’s voice was obviously crying. A small part of the reason is because he doesn’t want to hear bad things about his teacher, and more probably because of the pain everywhere.
“If you want to verify your willingness, I have a way. Would you like to try it?” the demon said
“According to the intention of Jingh, your whole body will eventually be melted by this pool of blood and infiltrate into the crystal. The cluster of elements will be greatly satisfied, and at the same time, it will lose its activity. Jingh has arranged everything for this. Obviously, he has not considered a plan that can not only make the element cluster disappear, but also make you live… Don’t shake so much. Relax. It’s almost over. Listen to me first. I’m just telling the truth. I’m not abusing your teacher.
“Jingh has not arranged for your future. If you don’t have the right to choose freely and he orders you to die, you can only die, even if I’m here now. Now, let me make a proposal. After I get rid of the element cluster, you have to leave the Moon Tower alive. Keep living with this elf body. What do you think?”
“If you can’t, it means that Jingh still controls you with magic. You think it’s your choice, but it’s not at all. If he does not control you, but just educated and guided you like a human father and mother, then you can certainly do what I just said.”
Rime didn’t answer. In the eye socket of the bone dragon, the fire suddenly darkened for a while, and immediately recovered in a beat. At the same time, a lot of noise came from the huge crystal.
First, the sound is very deep and far away, like an iceberg in acreeping collision, and then the sound of breaking deep within, spreading from the inside to the shallow layer.
After a few seconds, the surface of the crystal cracked completely.
The crackling sound of the crystal continued, the blood pool began to empty, and the blood poured into the cracks.
The demon grabs the bone in his arms and jumps to his feet. During a brief hover, he extends his wings.
The huge pair of wings is not the same as before: the fire-light between the skeletons became more and more dense, and is no longer translucent, but formed a deep red solid pterygium. On the edge of the pterygium and the skeleton, there are some small and sharp thorns. From a distance, it looks like the membrane wing of a dragon and the wing of a bird.
The demon dives low as the giant crystal shatters into irregular pieces around him. Instead of collapsing, the debris turns into light spots in the air and disappears completely. The demon found the lower earth floor, he came here not long ago as a human.. Across the layers of light, he saw the elf’s body curled up on the ground.
He put the bone dragon down, right next to elf’s body.
The bone dragon stretched out his scarred hand bone and dragged his body hard to get closer to the elf, protecting it under his head and chest.
After all the light spots in the air had disappeared, the demon could finally see the whole picture of the cluster of elements.
Its color is variable, and its surface creeps and changes constantly, sometimes completely dark, sometimes gray or white. At this time, it lies on the stone wall in the distance, covering a huge area, which at first looks like a mass of mucus, and then converges and stretches out similar to having a head and limbs.
It mimics the structure of primates, but its limbs move more irregularly, unlike any known animal. It pays attention to the bone dragon on the ground, and is obviously still tempted by its smell. It jumps from the rock wall and approaches, the demon tightens his wings and rushes forward to meet it..
The two collide together and sparks burst out upon impact. A burning smell spreads in the space,stronger than any campfire or even a fire scene. The wild fire roars, rising and rushing into the sky from the bottom of the tower.
The cluster of elements stretched out innumerable limbs, firmly entangling the demon’s body. The gray line is wrapped in dark and blood red colors, constantly tightening, sticking and invading into the skin.
Instead of struggling, the demon unfolded his wings and gathered himself with the gray lines. The tiny spines on its wings hook up each other, and the wings on both sides eventually close into a huge cocoon.
The outer membrane of the cocoon is dark red, and then it turns into a flowing flame. This huge flame suspends in the air, and suddenly the moon tower becomes very quiet.
A few seconds later, a high-frequency howl breaks the silence. The sound pierced the mountain, startling countless birds, wild animals fled in all directions in the forest, and numerous insects were shaken down from the trees.
The flame changed. First, a few spines pierce out, and then the black turns out from the inside, bringing the red back into the interior.
There are two black wings extending to the sky and a long tail hanging down from the ground. The demon stretches his whole body again, showing a stripe on its black skin, which flows with hot lava.
The gray that entangled the demon’s body disappeared. The demon drops slowly, the hot air around him dancing and scraping the rock wall like fire tongues, and greedily licking all the remaining abyssal elements.
His feet touched the ground, and in that moment, the huge black creature was gone, replaced by a bounty hunter in ragged leather armor.
At first, the hem of his clothes fluttered without wind, and then fell and returned to its usual appearance. Carringer took a deep breath, his eyes still in a trance.
“Ai, I can’t maintain that comfortable form,” Carringer licked his lower lip. “No way. There are not enough abyssal elements here.”
Just like if the fire burns up the oxygen, it will extinguish itself. After eating the power of the abyss around him, the demon himself had to follow the rules of the standard plane and was compressed back to the human-like biological pattern.
It’s dark at the bottom of the Moon Tower now, but Carringer doesn’t need lighting. He walks over to the skeleton dragon, squats down besides his head, and observes the eye socket. The fire light in the eye socket is too weak to see clearly.
Carringer tried to call it a few times. The fire didn’t respond, and was even darker than before.
As Carringer clenched his fists, frowning and silent, the long hem of his dress was gently pulled twice. He turned around and the elf Rime was lying on the ground, not even raising his head, but struggling with an arm to grab the edge of his ragged hem.