Chapter 2: Black Tree Village
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Before Carringer, many people in Black Tree had read the letter.
They all agreed that there must be something wrong with the elf in the mountains. He may have been beaten, destroyed, coerced, and tortured by demons; or worse, he may have been possessed by demons.
Carringer asked the poet why he had such a guess. The poet said that in fact, his village had known for generations that there was an elf in the mountains. In the older villagers’ memories, the elf was gentle, elegant, and demure, which was definitely not the temperament of the present elf.
One’s temperament is a small matter, but not major evidence. What’s more, the last letter the people in the village saw from the elf was written a long time ago, and the font on that letter is completely different from the one today.
The last letter was sent to the village several decades ago.
That letter is now in the shop of the ‘Pleasing Song Cottage.’ When the poet told these things, the woman shopkeeper went to the back and brought the old letter.
The old paper was more formal, and the owner framed it. Carringer took a look and confirmed that the font was different.
The font of the cussing letter is neat and beautiful, while the font of the letter was not very neat. It was soft, rickety, and loose. Although it is clear that it was written by an adult, it still gave people a feeling of slovenliness and slowness, which is totally different compared to the font of today’s letter.
There was also no swearing in the old letter. At the beginning, there are some simple greetings, followed by a long list of book titles.. Finally, it indicates that these books can be mailed and should reach their respective possession areas within a month, but villagers will need to go to the city to collect them themselves. Some addresses and names are listed so that people can collect from these addresses when they are free.
Finally, the writer wishes the shop a smooth operation, stating that there is no need to reply. If they have any questions, they should contact the address listed above, where someone will convey it.
“This letter was delivered many years ago, apparently by a bird.” the poet explained. “It was sent to the village head at that time, who has long since passed away.”
Carringer asked, “Does the letter say good luck to your store?”
The poet nodded.
“What kind of store is it?”
The poet said, “It’s a library. We also sell some snacks.”
Library? Carringer was shocked again. He looked back at the other side of the hall. The rows of bookshelves really did give the atmosphere of a small library.
Seeing Carringer’s expression, the poet’s mother laughed.
She held the framed letter with pride. As the owner of the shop, she took the initiative to undertake the task of explaining to the bounty hunter
The owner said that the ‘library’ was built with the help of the mountain elf. It started a long time ago when the owner’s grandfather was a child.
Since then, the villagers have known that there is an elf living in the nearby mountains. Everyone was curious about it, but no one had seen him or her.
One day, a box of books suddenly appeared at the entrance of Black Tree Village. A note was left in the box to the effect that these books were not wanted after sorting. It was a pity to burn them. They were sent to Black Tree Village for disposal at will.
Some people think that the books were sent by the city’s cultural people, while others think that they were sent by the elf in the mountains. Anyway, Black Tree Village left the books behind.
It’s not because they love reading, but because the box and the books inside were very exquisite, mysterious, and interesting enough to keep…
At that time, ‘Pleasing Song Cottage’ was a tavern, and business was very poor. This is because Black Tree Village is not on the commercial road and there is no charming scenery nearby, hence few tourists passed by.
The village head decided to store all the books in ‘Pleasing Song Cottage.’ He thought: the books were given to the whole village. It’s not appropriate for him to keep them himself. Moreover, there is no place for them to put so many books, the best option would be large spaces such as pubs or hostels so that all the villagers can read them.
Since then, books began arriving at the village. Sometimes the boxes appeared out of thin air in the suburbs, sometimes loaded in carriages and transported from the city.
The old books appeared in the boxes in the suburbs, and the bibliography was irregular; the newer books came from the city, and the coachman said that they were the goods ordered by someone else and sent directly to Black Tree Village.
In recent years, there have been three pharmacists, seven or eight scribes, and countless city guard members to come out of Black Tree Village. Most of them have gone to work in the city, and some have even entered the Knights’ order of the territory. In the past decade or so, two mages were trained in the village. Now one is studying in a school near the sea, the other is no longer a mage, but a refiner, following the materials team doing business.
In retrospect, when these people were young, they spent every day in ‘Pleasing Song Cottage,’ starting with picture books first, and then having the cashier or poet teach them to read.
To this day, there are still few visitors to the ‘Pleasing Song Cottage.’ It is no longer a tavern, but a library for the whole village. Even so, more and more customers are willing to come. The female shopkeeper has learned a lot of novel dishes and drinks from books outside. Sometimes, people living in nearby cities will come to Black Tree Village to taste the special caramel drink carefully prepared by the owner.
This was all thanks to the elf. Although none of the villagers had ever seen him.
In recent years, the elf stopped ending books. Black Tree Village didn’t mind much, they’ve learned how to stock from the outside themselves and no longer need to rely on free old books.
What the villagers really cared about is that the elf’s presence was getting weaker and weaker, and there were more and more horror stories coming from the mountain forest
They even wondered if the elf was dead? Or left the tower?
Maybe because no one is protecting the inverted mage tower now, the demons in there are slowly recovering.
After hearing this, Carringer understood exactly what was going on in this store. It is no longer a tavern, but it has the name of a tavern. In the same way, the ‘resident bard’ is essentially an enlightening teacher for children.
Both the shopkeeper and the poet had no conclusion in their speeches, so Carringer had to summarize them himself.
In Carringer’s opinion, the writer’s attitude is not important. The handwriting is a doubtful point. Even if the handwriting is inconsistent, it can be understood that there’s not only one elf in the forest. What’s really important is that, from all the details, both the former and the present writer are very concerned about Black Tree Village. Under this premise, the former is leisurely and quiet and does not worry much about security issues, while the latter is irritable and on the verge of explosion.
“Well, first of all. I’ll go and have a look.” Carringer returned the swearing letter to the poet and stood up.
“Have a look at what?”
Shocked, the poet and the shopkeeper rushed over and stopped Carringer, who was going to get his cloak.
“How can you go now?” The poet said, “It’s already dark. It’s not wise to enter the mountain at this time… Even if you want to, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”
Carringer took off his cloak from the door. “Monsters are more active after dark, right?”
“Yes, yes, so…”
“So night time is also a great opportunity for bounty hunters.”
Carringer didn’t ride his horse. Before leaving, he untied an extra dagger and a hatchet from his horse’s back and hung them on the spare belt at his back.
He walked southwest, past the sentry in the field, and set out towards the mountain road with more and more trees. At the foot of the mountain, the village can be seen clearly.
The mountain forest was already dark in the daytime, and at night the moonlight could not penetrate either.. It was raining at dusk, but the ground in the mountain was not muddy. It was clear that the canopy covered the sky and formed a protective cover over the forest.
The darkness and tangled ground didn’t hinder Carringer’s speed, and he soon reached the mountainside where he saw the warning signs.
That irascible letter is true, as long as you are not blind, you can see these warnings.
The trees and bushes are filled with wooden signs, stone tablets stand in the middle of all the paths making it so that one can barely walk, countless grass ropes hung from the branches, and warning signs dangled on the ropes. The warning signs also extended a great distance, such that even if you went up the mountain from different paths, you could still see a few of them.
Although it is night, the text on the warning signs are very clear due to the faint glow of fireflies in the trees, flickering to illuminate the text.
Carringer watches the fireflies. They are obviously not the creatures found in nature, but products of magic. The villagers didn’t mention this, possibly because no one had dared to go up the mountain at night, Carringer feared.
This mage is so careful and thoughtful that he has prepared the light at night.
Carringer bypasses the warnings and continues deeper into the forest, pressing his hand against the sheath by his side.
The warning area forms a buffer zone, which takes a long time to leave. Carringer thought it would get darker and darker again, but the opposite was true.
At first, it was very dim, like fragments of starlight cast from a gap in the tree. The further he went forward, the stronger the light became, until the naked eye could see in all directions.
The whole area was illuminated in a cold blue glow, like being exposed to a seafloor in the forest.
Carringer sighed. He had no time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Behind him, something was approaching.
He was aware of its breath, but he didn’t turn around or change his pace.
There was a flash of scarlet in the depths of the trees ahead. Carringer’s eyes were keen to catch the flickering light. He locked in on it and saw it climb up the back of a big tree and disappear silently between the branches and leaves.
A breeze was blowing and the whole forest rustled..
Carringer brushed off his hood and pulled out the long machete at his waist. At the same time, a black shadow swooped down on him from the tree above.
The long knife drew out a halo arc, cutting straight through the path of the shadow. The monster howled and retreated.
Carringer did not chase, but turned abruptly, facing the bloody mouth that came up from behind. The silver light of the knife flashed again, and a foul black liquid splashed on Carringer’s cloak.
Now he could see the two monsters. Behind one attack is a coyote like black animal, with blood red eyes and over-inflated chest and neck muscles. From the top of the tree, the other monster was a large rodent, with a mouse-like head and no hair at all. It’s skin texture was like burning charcoal, with a faint red light showing through the cracks.
The two monsters readjusted their posture and pounced on Carringer again. This time, instead of attacking in silence, they roared ferociously while displaying their fangs
Carringer first deals with the hairless rat. When it tries to jump again, he stabs it in the throat, turns around and throws the rat monster at the black coyote. The rat shaped monster slid from the tip of the sword and fell on the ground. The coyote smashed its body against the rat and was just about to rush forward again when Carringer jumped on top of his head and slashed it obliquely.The coyote fell silent, the only thing left between its head and neck was a thin layer of fur.
“It’s not a demon,” murmured Carringer.
Instead of putting away his weapons, he went on with his knife in his hand. Black blood was stained on the long machete, but it soon dripped clean. The blade reflected the blue light in the forest, and sent out a chill.
More noise could be heard from the forest, things that were lurking in the dark had become agitated and were gathering from all directions.
Carringer counted to five and a black beast jumped out from the right. Then another one appeared in the same direction, and several pairs of red eyes flashed in the dark on the other side.
After killing three beasts in a row, Carringer rushed to the fourth, and a rustle of footsteps approached behind him, forming an echo.
Carringer jumps up , dodges the approaching monster, grabs a branch thick enough and turns over to hang it.
The space behind him was now filled with a group of hairy little things. They were bigger than insects but smaller than rabbits and mice.Those things didn’t rush to chase him, instead, they jumped onto the larger monster and began to gnaw wildly.
Carringer looked carefully and saw that these little creatures were not all the same.Some looked like caterpillars that had grown countless times bigger, and some looked like ants with sharp spines.
Large monsters fell to the ground howling, while others began to climb the trees. Carringer simply jumped out of the tree and joined the little monsters down on the ground.
As Carringer ponders, “Is it too inefficient to step on them with my feet,” a white light rose from the ground.
The light burst out from the forest floor and spread rapidly in the form of branches, like lightning on the ground. Where the lightning went, there was a howl between the grass and the roots of the trees.
The little monsters close to Carringer are sliced through by the light, as if it was the sharpest knife. The cut-off section of the bodies emitted a thin heat, and not a drop of blood was spilled.
The forest was quiet for a moment, and the sound of the shaking of the vegetation completely disappeared. A moment later, there was another commotion, and then it gradually returned to calm.
Carringer looks at the source of the light. There was something over there watching him.
After a moment of observation between the two sides, Carringer simply stepped over. There was a sound from the trees, and a big spider rose from the bushes.
It was about one person tall, all black, and its round body was supported by twig-like legs.Upon closer inspection, Carringer was sure that it wasn’t a spider. It has only four legs and no head.
The black spider did not attack. Despite the fact that it had no eyes, Carringer still had the feeling of being watched.
“It’s a kind of trick, I know it,” Carringer said, looking at the spider. “Is the caster of the spell nearby? I want to talk to you.”
“Come near, please.”
The spider statue really made a sound. It was not a human voice, too rigid. Carringer couldn’t hear the tone or even distinguish the gender and age of the speaker. The voice just rigidly connected the pronunciation of each word.
Carringer hesitated. Once again, the phantom said, “Come near, please approach.”
So Carringer walked over. As he approached, the four legs of the statue folded and shortened, and the height of the round body dropped to the height of the human breast.
Carringer looked down and saw a red dot on top of the sphere.
“Please click here,” said the ghostly voice, “please press here to call.”
It’s fun. So Carringer pressed with his index finger. The phantom said, “Please wait a moment. Don’t move your finger. Please wait. Connected. You can remove your finger.”
Carringer moved his finger away at the command and asked tentatively, “Hm, am I talking to a living person?”
The magic figure replied, “How could you run into the mountains at night? Do you want to die, or do you want to be fucking torn apart? You don’t seem to be from Black Tree Village. Who are you?”
The voice still had that inflexible tone, but Carringer could feel the mood change.
The tone was not intentional, it’s the caster who connects his consciousness and talks to him through the voice system of the avatar.
Carringer ignored the irony and introduced himself, “I’m a bounty hunter. Just call me Carringer.”
There was a moment’s silence. If the opponent is a mage, he can definitely understand the difference between a bounty hunter and an ordinary hunter.
“Are you invited by the retarded people of Black Tree Village?” The magic statue spoke again, spitting out harsh words in a steady tone, “If you want to live till tomorrow, then listen to me and be honest. Now, this avatar will show you the way and send you down the mountain. Keep your eyes open, don’t be sleepy, don’t run around, keep up, and I’ll guarantee your safety.”
Carringer said, “No, I’m not going. I’m here to finish my work. How can I leave before I’m done?”
“Do you think you’re that good? Are bounty hunters so extraordinary? I thought those were dragon slayers?”
“People in the village say you are a mage,” Carringer said with a smile. “I think you are very busy and tired. Don’t you need help? I’d like to see you. Let’s talk about what’s going on in this place and cooperate.”
The voice of the statue increased the speed of his speech, “Fuck your cooperation! You don’t know what’s good or bad for you? Do you have a wife? Do you have a mother? If you are so ready to die, are you thinking about others? Just now you met with only three very elementary alien infectious organisms. You think you’refucking fantastic because you won, don’t you? If you’re worth a fart, you may run into thirty or three hundred of them! They can tear you into three hundred pieces, and then your wife and your mother will sew you up and bury you for three days and three nights!”
Tonight, Carringer was shocked for the third time.
As everyone said, it seemed true that the mage was mean, quick thinking and quick witted.
This mage… How can he be so uncultured while being civilized and elegant?
The avatar moved his thin legs, turned around, and tried to get Carringer to follow. But Carringer didn’t. Instead of following the statue, he continued up the mountain.
This caused the avatar to begin urging Carringer down the mountain with its flat tone and constant bursts of particularly elegant words and sentences.Carringer ignored it and walked on.
In the depth of the mountain, there was no longer an obvious path under Carringer’s feet,so he had to continuously sweep branches away with his machete.Finally, after walking for less than half a mile, Carringer arrived at a more open clearing.
The space is not big, and it is only a dozen or so steps. With the magic light in the crown of the tree, Carringer saw a figure emerge from the woods opposite.
The man was slender in a long gray-blue cloak, with a few strands of icy blonde hair showing under his hood. A crystal pendulum hung from his wide cuff, wrapped with a warm light rarely seen in this forest.
“Good evening, master.” Carringer walks up to him with a smile.