Chapter 14: END
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Carringer left near dusk, and after midnight, he sneaked back near Black Tree Village.
During this gap, he drove two horses to the city to deal with a lot of things: arranging accommodation, handling the gifts received, receiving payment from the Lord , being forced by the Lord to eat, and so on. After that, he pretended to go back to the pub and sneaked out of the city at night.
He bypassed Black Tree Village and went straight into the mountains. Recalling his first experience of climbing the mountain in the dark a few days ago, he still has a little memory.
The mountain is not absolutely quiet tonight. There are birds singing in the distance, and rustling insects under his feet. The large number of warning signs on the hillside are no longer useful. There are no infected bodies in the deep mountains anymore,only ordinary nocturnal beasts.
Today’s night road is dark, because there is no magic lighting in the tree crown. Since the two elves in the mountain are ‘dead’ and Rime will not appear again, the magic lighting should not be on any more.
Back at the moon tower, Carringer knocks on the stone wall. Several times ago, when he stood here, Rime either didn’t respond, or he would not pay attention to him for a long time. Today, it’s totally different. After he knocked three times, the gate of the falling moon tower suddenly appeared in front of him.
Before he could push, the door opened inwards and Rime stood by the door. It seems that Rime had stayed at the top floor this whole time, rather than waiting for someone whilst sitting on the pontoon.
Just like when they first met, Rime wore a gray blue robe with a warm crystal pendulum hanging from his sleeve. The pendulum is the only light source in the tower, and all other magic lights are out.
The robe was worn and ragged, and even the hem was a little dirtier than yesterday, as if it had been rubbing on the ground for a long time.
Seeing Carringer, Rime opened his mouth, a little surprised and confused.
“How could you…” Half way through, he pauses, apparently changing the second half, “Why are you back?”
Carringer looked at Rime’s reaction and immediately understood what was going on.
“Why? Did you think I wasn’t coming back?” Carringer asked.
“No,” said Rime. “I knew you would .”
“Really? But you seem surprised.”
“Of course I knew. You’re going to meet with the mages, and then you’ll definitely come back.”
Carringer said with a smile, “Doesn’t that mean you thik I won’t come back? Did you really think that I will leave for a few months or even years, find the association and get closer to them, so that they can believe that I am not nonsense, make friends with a group of mages, have a good time and then come back to move books?”
Rime looks at the ground with a trace of desolation in his eyes. Obviously, that’s what he thought will happen.
Carringer went into the tower and looked in private, “How did you turn off all the lighting?”
“There’s nothing to do anyway, so don’t need to shine so brightly,” said Rime.
Carringer asked again, “Where are the statues in the tower? Why don’t you see them?”
“I’ve turned off most of them and left a few. Anyway, there won’t be any new infections in the laboratory, so don’t need to be cleaned up by so many demons.”
“How are you?”
“How are you doing?” Carringer looked at Rime’s tattered robe. “Is it hard to walk? You see, you can’t even change your clothes, can you? I guess you’ve fallen several times, and your robes are dirtier than yesterday.”
“I’m in good health and can walk,” Rime said. “It’s just… It’s just that I have to do a lot of aftercare, so I don’t have time to pay attention to them.”
Carringer smiles. He could see that this was not the case at all. Rime definitely sat on the ground of the first floor hall of the falling moon tower for a long time. After all, he hasn’t even turned on the lights of the lower floors.
Carringer didn’t say anything about the real purpose of his return. He deliberately began to communicate about unimportant things. He paced to the edge of the spiral staircase and said solemnly, “I was going to leave at once, but after thinking about it, I decided to come back first.”
Rime listened to him carefully, even a little nervous.
Carringer continued, “Although you can use this elf corpse, it doesn’t affect your actions, but after all, your body has been seriously damaged. I don’t know how you are and whether you can live a normal life. So I wanted to come back and confirm your situation.”
“I’m fine.” Rime was looking at him, but now he’s lowering his head again.
Carringer noticed this, but instead of asking, he went on, “Your teacher only left you a body, didn’t he leave you clothes?”
“Of course, I have clothes.”
“Can you change?”
Rime wanted to ask ‘why?’ he just opened his mouth, but then he swallowed the voice back. He was wearing a ragged and dirty robe. He should have changed it for no special reason anyways.
As Rime fell into a brief thought, Carringer made a caring expression and asked, “Rime, are you still weak and unable to walk?”
As if eager to prove that he could walk, Rime went to the spiral stairs and called the floating saucer up. He stepped on the float, and Carringer followed naturally.
“I don’t have to meet anyone anyway. I’m in a hurry to change clothes,” Rime says, glancing at Carringer.
The pontoon arrives on the seventh floor, and Rime walks through the large library before heading to a small wooden door in the corner. He walks slowly, and Carringer follows him all the way, watching him. Rime is still obviously tired all over, but is better than when he was continuously eroded.
When Rime walked into the small door and was about to close it, Carringer held it open with his hand, “Why close the door? It’s just changing clothes. Shy? Why? I’ve seen your bones.”
“It’s not about shyness, it’s about… Normally speaking, people will not change clothes in front of others, it is not decent.”
“Who told you that?”
Carringer chuckled. “Didn’t you study the other way? Now how did it change?”
Rime was not stupid. He immediately came up with another reasonable reason, “This is the body of teacher Jingh. Out of respect, I always have to leave him some dignity.”
Carringer pinned his toes directly through the door panel and walked into the room, and Rime had to step back two steps. As Rime was about to say something, Carringer said, “But now this is your life.”
Rime was stunned. Carringer looked at him, shrunk his smile and said solemnly, “Yes, this is the body of Jingh. But you have to understand that now you not only have an elf body, but also your own life. You are not a silver dragon skeleton trapped in the ground, nor a magic image, nor an assistant, nor a poison, nor a food or a tool that is bound to die. From today on, you are yourself, you are the elf mage Rime. Or to be modest, the elf mage apprentice.”
Suddenly listening to such serious words, Rime was a little confused, and his eyes were a little feverish. Carringer came a little closer, put his hand on Rime’s shoulder, brushed aside a strand of hair, and squeezed the thin shoulder again.
With a little effort, he pinched Rime, but it didn’t hurt very much.
Rime looked at him in disbelief. Carringer asked, “Did it hurt you?”
Carringer rubbed Rime’s shoulder and said with a smile, “You felt the pain just now, not anyone else, right?”
Rime’s eyes brightened, but he still frowned slightly, as if he had thought of something and didn’t understand it.
Carringer went on to say, “Since it’s you that I met and you can feel things now, it’s no one else but you in front of me. Listen, from now on, don’t think this body is still Jingh. Maybe Jingh hasn’t disappeared, he still exists in your heart – but not in reality. Beyond your memories and your heart, there is no Jingh, only you. Whether you’re called Rime or whatever you want to change it to, it’s you.”
When Carringer was talking, Rime always felt that the dead heart, driven by magic, was jumping faster and faster. He didn’t know why. He didn’t know what these words were, but he felt excited and wanted to cry.
Although he wanted to cry, he was not really sad, so he didn’t cry. Instead, he maintained his hot eyes and slightly sour nose, which made him unable to respond at all.
He even forgot what he and Carringer were talking about and why they started talking.
Carringer patted Rime on the shoulder: “Go get dressed. Now, where would you like to start?”
So, in a muddled and floating state, Rime nodded, turned and walked slowly to the cabinet and suitcase in the room.
Carringer then spared his energy to look inside. This place should be a small rest room in the study, with some simple furniture, but now it is more like a small warehouse. The cabinets and boxes are a bit messy, with household items and clothes for humanoid creatures.
As Rime takes out his new shirt and gown from the closet, Carringer picks up some small things from the shelf next to him and looks at it. Instead of looking back at him, Rime whispered, “I have no use for those things. If you like, take them away.”
Carringer travels around and he doesn’t use most of the things here. But he still took some small gold and silver ornaments inlaid with precious stones and put them into his pockets which had just been vacated today.
Anyway, it’s Jingh’s stuff. It’s necessary to give reward to the bounty hunter who helped Jingh with such a big trouble.
Carringer looks at him as he takes off his tattered robe. The grey blue robe fell to the ground, and then the black close-fitting gown. After the long black shirt also fell, the very light color of golden hair on the pale skin could be seen. The pallid color reminded Carringer of the dragon bones lying at the bottom of the tower.
“Rime.” As soon as Carringer called his name, Rime, who was wearing a new shirt, wanted to look back but stopped. Carringer snickered and continued, “I’m thinking about something. I want to talk with you.”
“Say it.” Rime answers. The new gown and his long hair completely covered his back, and Carringer couldn’t see anything ‘disgraceful.’
Carringer said, “Although you asked me to go to the Federation, I have never been there before. I don’t know where these mage strongholds are. Do you know?”
“I don’t know…”
Carringer said, “I thought as much. After the moon tower closes, no one can find its entrance. No one can break in or take the books in the tower and so on. Therefore, there is no need to rush to find the Federation. I’d like to inquire first, not only about the location of this organization, but also about its system and ethos. For example, are there any taboos to getting along with those mages, and whether the people in charge of affairs are in good contact with them? I also know some casters in the hunter guild. I’ll meet them first and ask them to introduce me to some high-level mages that are easy to get along with. It may help. What’s more, I’m not really human after all. I have to make sure that the mages won’t find out what I am, or make sure that it’s alright to be discovered.”
“Mm,” Rime said in a small voice.
“It’s annoying to hear about these things, and it’s going to take a lot of time,” Carringer said. “Of course, I can’t sit around and wait everyday. AsI’m dealing with these things slowly, I may take on some hunting tasks. In other words, it will take a long time for me to bring people back to the moon tower after this trip.”
Rime nodded. There was no sound this time.
Carringer has been keeping a close eye on him. He even stopped tying his clothes. Carringer couldn’t bear to torture him any more and decided to make it clear, “So, I’d like to discuss it with you. Do you want to come with me, Rime?”
Rime immediately turned around and looked at Carringer in surprise, even though he hadn’t tied up his clothes. Carringer said with a smile, “Maybe you don’t want to come with me at all, but I still want to invite you. You’re not familiar with things outside. It’s okay. I’ll take you. How about it, will you come?”
Rime looked dull and didn’t answer immediately. Carringer said, “No? If you really don’t want to…”
As Carringer said this, Rime began to nod. The expression is a little tangled, a little anxious, nodding his head in a small range, but he can’t keep up with his words. Carringer knows why he’s doing this. He is not saying no.
Carringer deliberately said, “Yes, I’ve seen your attitude before, you seem to hate contact with people. If you don’t want to come with me, I won’t force you.”
“I will,” said Rime as he nodded.
Carringer looked sad and sighed. He touched his chin for a long time and didn’t speak, as if in deep thought.He turns and walks to the door of the room, before stopping again and frowning at him. “Don’t force yourself to do what you don’t want to do.”
“I would like to…” Rime quickly repeated it again. He was a little anxious, his mouth couldn’t keep up with his thoughts, so he could only repeat this sentence.
Carringer stood outside and held out his hand, “Would you like to? Come here if you do.”
Rime nodded and walked towards Carringer.
Because he couldn’t walk fast, Rime kept staring at Carringer even though he was just a few steps away, for fear that Carringer would suddenly turn around and walk away. As he approached, he didn’t hold Carringer’s hand at all. Instead, he leaned his body and went straight into Carringer’s arms.
This time, even Carringer was shocked. He thought there was something wrong with Rime, and soon realized it was not. Instead of falling down, Rime had rushed forward in a hurry, curled up his hands, felt Carringer’s belt tentatively, and then bravely put his arm around his waist.
Carringer originally wanted to let him come and hold his hand, and then pull him into his arms if the atmosphere was good.However, Rime ignored the hand and came directly to hold him.
Rime didn’t hold very tightly, he didn’t dare to let go but didn’t dare to hold too close either. So Carringer smiles and reaches back to hold him in his arms. The pale gold of the top of his head rubbed against Carringer’s shoulder, and was afraid to move again.
“Okay, I see. I’ll take you with me,” Carringer said, holding him in one hand and stroking him slowly on his neck and back. “I’ll take you to do all the places I just said.”
“I really want to go, really.” Rime said again.
“Well, I can see that’s true,” Carringer said. “Then pack up and get things done in the tower, and then we’ll go.”
“Alright. But… “
“But I walk slowly. You’ll have to wait for me.”
“Yesterday, it’s just like you didn’t care. Can you ride a horse? This question is simply superfluous. Regardless of whether a mage can ride a horse, of course, a disabled dragon demon can’t ride horses.”
“That doesn’t matter. I’ll protect you.” Carringer rubs Rime’s hair and laughs.
It was probably a little embarrassing after such a long hug, hence Rime retreats a little bit, and Carringer naturally releases his arm.
However, Carringer did not completely let go of his hand. He put one hand on Rime’s jaw and bowed slightly. Just as Rime was about to speak in doubt, Carringer lowered his head and gave him a curt kiss.
Rime didn’t move, he didn’t speak, and he didn’t know how to respond. He knew it was a kiss, but he didn’t know it was longer than usual. When his lips finally parted, Rime’s legs were a little soft and he had to nest in Carringer’s arms again.
Carringer placed a peck on Rime’s forehead again, “I thought you would be afraid of this, since it hurt you so much before.”
Just yesterday, the bone dragon was lying in the blood pool, confined by the giant demon with outspread wings. He watched his own bones being gnawed and listened to the chewing sound coming from demon’s crimson fangs. Just now, when the bounty hunter’s breath hit his cheek, Rime had the illusion of smelling the abyss.
In that case, he should be afraid. Even now, he was still a little scared. If this was not fear, then why did he feel entranced and a little weak?
At this point, Rime heard a “bang” and looked over Carringer’s shoulder. Carringer closed the door of the small room with his backhand. Rime was a little confused. Just now they said they were going to clean up their things. Now Carringer’s closed the door again?
Carringer pinched Rime’s chin and raised his head, their two eyes inches apart.
Rime shook subconsciously. Because he found that the eye in front of him was a human, but seemed to have a hot flame burning in its pupils.
Carringer also knew that his eyes scared Rime, so he closed them and offered a kiss again.
Just now, Rime did not have time to change his shoes and socks, and so was standing on the floor barefoot. His heel slightly left the ground, but the new robe on his shoulders fell to his ankles.
At the same time, the pendulum on his wrist fell into the soft robe.
As soon as it left the mage, the warm light went out. The small room was dark, leaving only the faint sweet breaths.
It’s just a short story,
Thank you for reading